Jadeveon Clowney’s most recent sack in an NFL game occurred 17 months ago. He has appeared in 11 of 22 games since and finished with fewer tackles last season than Browns cornerback M.J. Stewart.
If the Browns are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and they are, then Clowney isn’t that elusive missing piece that will secure their trip to Los Angeles. Not without a drastic career turnaround.
The Browns and Clowney are scheduled to meet for the second time this offseason on Wednesday, according to the NFL Network. At this point, Clowney appears to be out of options. The Browns probably aren’t investing big dollars here, so it’s a worthwhile gamble for even $5 million in base salary and a helmet-full of incentives. Just be aware of the history and remain realistic with expectations.
If Clowney comes to Cleveland, the Browns will be his fourth team in as many years. Barring something stunning and unexpected, he will have twice failed to secure the lucrative long-term contract he first sought from Houston after the 2019 season. He’s had multiple surgeries on both knees, including a microfracture procedure on his right knee and more recently a meniscus repair on his left that cost him the final seven games of last season plus the Titans’ playoff loss to Baltimore. He’s had multiple hernia surgeries. He’s had back, ankle and elbow problems.
He’s only 28, but he’s an old 28. If the Browns’ free-agent options came down to a 32-year-old J.J. Watt or the 28-year-old Clowney, I suppose I’ll gamble on the 28-year-old squeezing one more great season out of his deteriorating body. But the odds seem to be working against him.