The Cleveland Browns have apparently expressed some serious interest in free agent defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney. And while nothing is imminent, it seems they have gone deeper into talks with Clowney than other teams.
But would this be a good idea for the Browns?
I have made it abundantly clear before that I am not the biggest fan of Clowney as a player. I think he is really good, no doubt. But I do not think he is on the same level as other elite pass rushers such as Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack and Chandler Jones. Not even close, as a matter of fact.
Is Clowney disruptive? Yes. Is he an athletic freak? Absolutely. But production doesn’t lie. And the 27-year-old has yet to post a double-digit sack season since entering the NFL in 2014.
That being said, I think Cleveland should take a chance on him.
Well, for starters, the Browns needs help on the defensive side of the ball. They ranked just 22nd in the NFL in total defense this past season. And they just lost one of their top defensive players in linebacker Joe Schobert.
So even if Clowney is not exactly Donald, he could certainly help a Cleveland defensive unit that is in desperate need of a boost.
The idea of pairing Clowney and Myles Garrett together is definitely tantalizing. As you would imagine that those two would give offensive lines fits in tandem.
Garrett is one of the better pass rushers in the NFL, so perhaps his presence could help unlock Clowney in Cleveland.
Not only that, but the Browns have a tick over $43 million remaining in cap space, according to Over The Cap. That is a hefty amount of room at this stage of the offseason, so Cleveland would easily be able to absorb Clowney.
Of course, the length of the contract could potentially be an issue. Unless Clowney would be willing to accept a one-year prove-it deal to try and test the open market again in 2021 (which is a possibility), a long-term pact would probably be pretty expensive. And I’m not sure the Browns would be willing to spend big bucks on Clowney over an extended period of time.
However, if Cleveland can snag Clowney on a short-term deal or potentially land him on a bargain on a long-term contract? Then it really needs to pull the trigger.
It was clear in 2019 that the Browns were simply not ready to contend in spite of all of their offensive weapons. So they need to add more pieces.
Cleveland has made some moves here and there to try and shore up its defense this spring. But nothing that really jumps out at you. It would strongly behoove the Browns to swing a deal for an impact player. And while Clowney may not be truly elite, he certainly falls into the category of impactful guys.
The time is now for Cleveland. The Browns aren’t rebuilding. They are trying to win. For that reason, they should go after Clowney, so long as it is on a sensible deal.