May is typically something of a dead period for National Football League free agency, as it is two months after teams are allowed to start talking to free agents and usually the start of OTAs for teams.
But it doesn’t mean that all players who will be on a roster during the coming season have been signed.
The Baltimore Ravens are reportedly interested in Landry, and he could very well leave the team if nothing else than for salary reasons.
One could make the argument that Clowney is not only a more important player for Cleveland to keep but that it also flat-out needs him if it is to make the playoffs in 2022.
Here are a few reasons why.
1. The Browns Need To Shore Up Their Defense
This past season, Cleveland was a mediocre defensive team, as it ranked 13th in points allowed and 22nd in passing touchdowns allowed.
In Myles Garrett, they already have one of the premier pass rushers in the entire NFL.
He put up 16 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and 33 quarterback hits in 2021, which earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl and got him named to the All-Pro First-team.
But a successful pass rusher takes more than one man, and Clowney can help.
He had nine sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 19 QB hits in 2021 despite missing three contests.
Not too long ago, Clowney was named to the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons, and at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, he is an imposing presence on Cleveland’s front seven.
If he leaves the team, it will be hard-pressed to replace his production.
The Browns drafted defensive end Alex Wright in the third round of last week’s NFL draft, and at 6-foot-5 and about 271 pounds, he is an interesting prospect.
However, the draft is always a crapshoot, and they shouldn’t necessarily expect Wright to be an every-down player who is effective at pressuring QBs right away.
Continuity and chemistry are important, especially for relatively young teams such as the Browns that are trying to build something for the near future.
If Clowney bolts, Garrett, who was a newcomer to the Browns this past season, will have to build chemistry with a new defensive end opposite him all over again.
3. The AFC Is Loaded With Star QBs
With Russell Wilson relocating to the Denver Broncos and Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and even Mac Jones coming up fast, the Browns need to bring the heat when it comes to defending such signal-callers.
In the Browns’ own division, they will have to deal with the likes of Burrow and Lamar Jackson, and they need to be equipped up front in order to compete for the AFC North title.