If there is one word to define the Cleveland Browns’ 2022 defensive line, it might be “potential.”
But potential doesn’t win many pass-rush battles, nor does it make the big play with a game on the line.
Rookies Perrion Winfrey, Alex Wright, and even Isaiah Thomas might be fun to watch as they grow.
But growing pains are only cute if they don’t leave you with another 8-9 won-loss record.
Myles Garrett on fellow defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who will be a free agent this offseason: "I want him here.” #Browns
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) January 7, 2022
That’s why most fans and pundits expect the Browns to sign an established threat opposite Myles Garrett.
And the name batted around most often is Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney had a very good season with Garrett drawing away attention, and the two seem open to a reunion.
So why might Jadeveon Clowney not sign with the Browns?
Does It All Come Down To the Offer?
Cleveland reportedly has a 2-year deal on the table for $24 million ($12 million per year).
There has been some speculation Clowney prefers a one-year deal, as he asked for last year.
But the situation is different this time around, most notably the money part.
Clowney was coming off a subpar, injury-hampered season in 2020, resulting in lower compensation.
#Patriots have shown interest in #Browns free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney. The only obstacle that stands in the way of a move of this caliber is cap space and money. NE is very tight against the cap and needs to make a few moves to free up cap space. Yes, it’s easy to do. pic.twitter.com/tVBnnx65HX
— Justin Ramos (@NEPinsider) May 6, 2022
If the money is right, it makes sense for him to take the security of an extra season this time.
But with the Browns offer an open matter, other teams can jump in and top the deal to steal Clowney away.
Few teams have cap space available, but Andrew Berry is not the only GM who knows how to play with that.
And Clowney made no secret of his love for Cleveland, and his desire to max out on this contract.
No Place Like Home
Clowney also expressed an interest to play closer to his South Carolina home.
His recent experience with Tennessee would appear to rule out the Titans.
And most other teams technically closer are either cap-strung or set at the edge position.
But Clowney is confident a team will seek out his services.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) May 9, 2022
And while the Browns’ patience might run out as minicamp approaches, the player is willing to wait.
Mandatory offseason meetings and workouts are not among Clowney’s favored offseason activities.
It could be he made his mind up and will head to Berea in June.
But the longer he waits, the more opportunity there is for something to happen closer to home.
Berry Could Run Out of Patience
Berry and the Browns coaches don’t seem very anxious about the matter.
In the worst-case scenario, Joe Woods has a group of young, emotional, and talented players to rotate on the edge.
And they are backed up by a couple of solid linebackers and one of the NFL’s strongest secondaries.
But few folks argue another veteran pass-rushing threat could make a huge difference.
#Browns GM Andrew Berry on possibility of Jadeveon Clowney returning: "We'll continue to keep our thumb on the pulse on all of the veteran markets. We think highly of JD. We'll be back with roster building next week.
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) April 30, 2022
Clowney can continue to wait things out in an effort to avoid a minicamp.
And the other remaining free-agent options can continue to slowly sign on with other teams.
Clowney would probably respond to an ultimatum from Berry, but you never know.