The Cleveland Browns are reportedly still interested in free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who remains unsigned as teams count down the days to the start of training camp.
How interested? Well, enough to reportedly have a $15 million offer on the table, according to Albert Breer of Monday Morning Quarterback, who writes that he is hearing things about the Browns and Clowney:
Jadeveon Clowney’s situation continues to be complicated. And I think it’s of note that the Browns are willing to pay a good rate (I’ve heard they’d be O.K. going to the $15 million range on a one-year deal) to get him, and he remains unsigned. That tells me a couple things. One, that Clowney’s financial desires are still a barrier to getting a deal done. And two, that those desires may come on a sliding scale, based on destination.
So after six months, the question still hinges on what team will meet his price, and how his price may differ from one place to the next. And we’ve said this from the jump—going somewhere on a one-year deal, with a plan to crush it in the fall, and hit the market again next winter, seems to be the most sensible option now for Clowney. Seattle, because of his familiarity with the program and system, seems like the ideal place to carry out that plan. But the Browns, who’ll run a variation of the Seattle defensive scheme and have Myles Garrett to play opposite him, wouldn’t be the worst choice either. That’s so long as Clowney can get past the Browns’ turbulent past. And we’ll see on that.
A one-year prove it deal for Clowney would be a decent plan for the Browns, who could use the upcoming season to determine if it is worth making a longer commitment to Clowney, who hasn’t always lived up to his potential while with the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks.
Cleveland also has the salary cap space - a little more than $37 million, according to Over The Cap - to sign Clowney and keep defensive end Olivier Vernon around for the final year of his contract. Under that scenario, the Browns would roll with Myles Garrett and Clowney as the starters, with Vernon and Adrian Clayborn as the second unit, which is a rotation that should be able to do some serious damage.
It is worth noting that Clowney’s agent, Bus Cook, is also the agent for Garrett. The Browns are reportedly working with Cook on a contract extension for Garrett, so it is not hard to imagine general manager Andrew Berry dropping reminders to Cook that the Browns are there for Clowney in a way that no one else appears to be.
While Clowney was the headline, Breer also dropped a nice note about quarterback Baker Mayfield:
Speaking of the Browns, just about everything I’ve heard on Baker Mayfield coming out of there this offseason has been positive. His idea to pop in other position group rooms wasn’t just well-received by teammates, it was done with real intent. Yes, Mayfield wanted to own the new scheme, something he can do better if he can see every aspect of it through the eyes of the other 10 guys in the huddle, as well as his own. But he also knew he’d lose a lot of valuable relationship building time this offseason, and being present as much as possible for his guys was a way of making up for it.
Getting everyone on the same page isn’t easy, and Mayfield doing all this is recognition of that from the quarterback himself. He’s also done what other quarterbacks have in arranging passing camps to make up for the lost field work in the spring. He and some offensive teammates spent a week doing one in his hometown of Austin already, and word is that Mayfield’s planning another one, perhaps in Florida to make things easier on another leader in that huddle. Jarvis Landry is rehabbing from a hip injury and lives down there in the offseason.
It’s good to see Mayfield continue to take on a leadership role as he enters his third season with the Browns. With all the changes to the normal offseason routine, the more the Browns can do to turn those challenges into opportunities should hopefully pay off down the road.