The Cleveland Browns are unsure what the defensive end roster will look like for the 2022 season.
McKinley tore his Achilles in December so his 2022 is contingent upon his recovery.
Clowney has played on a series of one-year deals and appears ready to land a multi-year deal, either with the Browns or elsewhere.
A familiar face and former Browns player has also entered the discussions.
He is Olivier Vernon.
Where Has Vernon Been?
Like McKinley, Vernon lost a year of football to a torn Achilles.
— Eddie Kilroy (@eddiekilroyjr) December 21, 2021
He is now healthy and ready to return.
Vernon last played with the Browns in 2020 and had a great season before suffering his injury in Week 17.
He had 24 solo tackles, 16 quarterback hits, 12 tackles for a loss, and 9 sacks.
Vernon, 31, also had good chemistry with Myles Garrett.
Impending free agent Olivier Vernon expects to be ready to return to the field and be at full-strength by the season, per source.
Vernon recorded 36 tackles and nine sacks before tearing his Achilles Week 17 of the 2020 season. #NFL
— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) March 3, 2022
The Browns Should Be Interested
The risk is that he is coming off of a major injury.
However, the Browns could sign him for less money than Clowney and probably to a one-year deal.
Prior to joining the Browns in 2019, he played for the Miami Dolphins from 2012 to 2015 and the New York Giants from 2016 to 2018.
Vernon was the other Giants player dealt in the trade that brought Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland.
With or without Clowney, the Browns should check into Vernon’s health and viability.
is olivier vernon done with football? or if we sign clowney he can fill that Takk role..?#Browns
— JoeBurrowIsOverRated (@CavemanLucci1) January 19, 2022
The Browns seem to be circling the wagons around defensive ends and wide receivers.
That means free agency or the draft will be used to bring new players into the fold for 2022.
Free agency starts on March 16 so we will soon get an indication of what the plans are for these position groups if the Browns make headline news on the 16th.
Until then, the speculation continues to mount, and many theories will surface.