The Cleveland Browns played host to free agent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney late last month. He did not sign. The former Houston Texan, Seattle Seahawk, and Tennessee Titan is now scheduled to visit the Browns for a second time, today; he is expected to sign, this time.
At least part of the issue, perhaps has been the health of his knee, which he injured last season, and which caused him to miss half of the year. though there are no sources on this, multiple outlets have offered as a suggestion the possibility that his knee was not yet ready to pass a physical. Previous timelines for his recovery indicated that he could be scheduled to be a full go by mid-April…and it’s now mid-April.
One of Cleveland’s top priorities this offseason has been to link their star edge defender Myles Garrett with a proper complementary piece, and they may see Clowney as that guy. For the past two years, his primary partner had been Olivier Vernon, who showed flashes but had been slowed by injury.
Of course, that’s the same story for Clowney, who has only played a full 16-game season once in his career, and has missed three or more games in four out of seven seasons, including the past two years, sidelined for three games for the Seahawks in 2019 and eight a year ago in Tennessee.
Perhaps more concerning from a pragmatic point of few is that he has only recorded three total sacks during the 21 games in which he has played over the last two years, with 19 quarterback hits. Even taking into consideration the time lost due to injury, that’s not the kind of production you expect from even an average starter.
A former first-overall draft pick by the Texans in 2014, Clowney has produced 32 career sacks over the span of 83 games played, with 74 starts. He has 255 tackles, including 75 for loss, with 86 quarterback hits, one interception, 18 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles, eight recoveries, and four total defensive touchdowns, one via interception.
By no means has he ever been a bad player. While he hasn’t ever quite played at the level suggested by his draft position, he has certainly played at the level of quality starter in the past, particularly in his one full season in 2017 when he had career highs nearly across the board, including 9.5 sacks, 21 hits, 59 tackles, and 21 tackles for loss, with two forced fumbles, three recoveries, and a touchdown.
He followed that up with another nine sacks, 21 hits, 16 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, three recoveries, and another touchdown while playing in 15 games during his final season with Houston in 2018 before he was traded under the franchise tag to the Seahawks a year later in 2019. Since then, his production, and his health, have dipped, but he’s still just 28 years old heading into his eighth season, and he could certainly benefit from playing across from Garrett, with Sheldon Richardson and Malik Jackson in the middle.