Andrew Berry made some big splashes in free agency in each of his first two seasons.
This year, he used the trade market to change the look of Kevin Stefanski’s offense.
With 4 new free agents and 2 re-signings, Berry hasn’t ignored the free-agent market completely.
Jadeveon Clowney sounds like a guy who wants to be back in Cleveland — provided that the💰is right #Browns
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) January 9, 2022
But there are some serious holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball.
Cleveland’s roster includes only 3 safeties, one of whom has yet to play an NFL defensive snap.
Their corners are set and Joe Woods might be okay with his current linebacker group.
#Browns have offered FA Jadeveon Clowney a two-year deal worth $24M, per source. The 3x Pro Bowler has totaled at least nine sacks in three of his last four seasons (also with #Texans and #Seahawks). Good money for a good player. I’m told Cleveland is hoping for a decision soon.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 18, 2022
But free agent Bryan Taven is only the third interior lineman on the roster.
It is obvious Andrew Berry has some work to do to fill this roster.
And re-signing Jadeveon Clowney would go a long way in solidifying the Browns’ defense.
1. Clowney Brings Continuity & Familiarity
As things stand now, Cleveland will not have to make player cuts until the final roster is set on August 31.
Even with 7 additional draft picks, the Browns are well under the 80-player limit for the rest of August.
It stands to reason then, that the Cleveland roster will feature many new faces.
Joe Woods can use a few more guys familiar with his system if he is to pick up where he left off.
#Browns Myles Garrett said he's been trying to get Jadeveon Clowney to re-sign with Cleveland.
"I want him here."
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) January 7, 2022
But the tackles are not set in stone and the rest of the rotation is yet to work with the current Browns.
Familiarity works both ways, and Woods knows what he can confidently rely on Clowney to handle.
Working too many new players into the system is what Woods blamed for some early-season mistakes last year.
2. Clowney is Healthy Again
Jadeveon Clowney settled for a one-year deal in 2021 due to justifiable injury concerns.
Edge rusher is a violent position to play and Clowney is as tenacious as any of his peers.
But the list of injuries across Clowney’s career is impressive, and missed games piled up in 2019-20.
As it turned out, Clowney sat out 2 games with shoulder and knee injuries, and one with Covid.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 12, 2021
Overall, he held up as well as could be expected while racking up 9 sacks and 19 quarterback hits.
At first glance, those stats are good but fall a bit short of Clowney’s prime Houston years.
But the Houston defense was on the field a lot more than the 2021 Cleveland unit.
On a per-play basis, 2021 was comparable to his Pro Bowl seasons in many measurable stats.
3. Clowney Is The Best Available
As we approach the 2022 NFL Draft, it is obvious some teams hope to draft to fill holes.
But 32 free agent edge rushers have signed, leaving a mix of big-name-but-older players and lesser talents.
Jadeveon Clowney is one of the best, if not the best edge rusher left available.
.@Browns @clownejd when allowed to run, chase, disrupt and be a thorough nuisance to the opposition this Defense looks totally different. Can’t always be like this but when he plays this style you can NEVER fault his effort. Dude plays hard. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/NX1YAnvbpJ
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 28, 2021
Cleveland reportedly has an offer out for Clowney along the lines of 2 years and $24 million.
Spotrac places Clowney’s market value at $51 million over 4 years, and the years might be a bigger barrier than cash.
It is no surprise that Clowney is biding his time in hopes of a better deal.
But Berry would do well to add a third year and some incentives to bring Clowney back into the fold asap.