His new contract is reportedly a one-year deal worth $11 million.
— NFL (@NFL) May 22, 2022
This is a huge move for the Browns, as it provides stability and continuity for them heading into OTAs and with training camp about two months away.
There are a few reasons, in particular, why keeping Clowney will greatly bolster Cleveland’s chances of making the playoffs in 2022.
The Browns’ Defense Needs Help
This past season, the Browns ranked just 22nd in passing touchdowns allowed with 29 and 21st in turnovers forced with 19.
More defensive pressure on opposing quarterbacks is needed, especially with the amount of talent that can now be found throughout the AFC.
Clowney is a man who has the ability to make QBs work to move the chains.
He made the Pro Bowl for three consecutive seasons from 2016 to 2018, and last season he posted nine sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 19 QB hits.
With opposing offensive lineman having to concern themselves with two pass rushers on the Browns’ front seven, it should create plenty of opportunities for both Clowney and Garrett.
— Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show (@ultCLEsports) May 23, 2022
Losing Clowney would’ve been a big blow to a Browns defense that has mostly young and inexperienced defensive ends behind him and Garrett.
Clowney Is A Former Teammate Of The Browns’ New QB
Deshaun Watson will now be starting under center for Cleveland, and when he was a member of the Houston Texans, he was a teammate of Clowney in 2017 and 2018.
Obviously, they will not be sharing the field together during games, but the fact that they have played together on another team can only help this new-look Browns roster develop chemistry, cohesion and good vibes this year.
The Browns Had No Alternatives
If Cleveland had let Clowney walk, it would’ve likely had some real problems defensively this coming season.
The pickings are very slim at this point of the offseason, and there was no one the Browns could’ve brought in who would’ve had a similar level of impact.
In addition, there are no other proven defensive ends on the Browns roster.
Curtis Weaver was a rookie last season and played in just one contest while recording just one assisted tackle and one QB hit, and he played linebacker in 2021, not defensive end.
In three seasons in the NFL, Chase Winovich, whom the Browns signed this offseason, has shown some production, but he has started only nine of 45 games in the pros.
Isaac Rochell, another player Cleveland picked up, has started in just nine of his 63 NFL games and put up a total of 9.5 sacks and 91 tackles (52 solo).
Stephen Weatherly is another newcomer who is much more of a second-stringer than a starter at the pro level.
Draft picks Isaiah Thomas and Alex Wright could turn into good players eventually, but for now, they are rookies.
With OTAs underway and Clowney still on the team, the Browns can look forward to the upcoming season with some optimism.