The Cleveland Browns and former Pro Bowl pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney recently completed a new one-year contract that will keep him on the team for at least a second season. Including four void years, his cap hit totals just under $3.5 million for the 2022 season, though it is worth $10 million, and up to $11 million with incentives, including $9.25 million guaranteed—an $8 million signing bonus and a base salary of $1.25 million. He has another $750,000 in per-game roster bonuses available within that $10 million figure.
Could he have gotten that elsewhere? Well, according to reports, yes. Ian Rapoport said that he turned down multi-year offers in the range of $14-15 million per season, though it was not specified whether those totals were with incentives or not.
Either way, the narrative is that Clowney chose to come back to Cleveland—and it’s not an unreasonable one. He did have success there after a couple of down years due to health, totaling nine sacks. He recently told the team’s website that it’s about one reason above all others, however: “I just want to chase that Super Bowl”.
The Browns, who finished tied for last place in the AFC North last season with an 8-9 record, can reasonably be expected to be more competitive in 2022, hinging upon the availability and performance of their new, very expensive franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson. They did make the playoffs, and even win a game, with Baker Mayfield at quarterback in 2020, who was injured nearly the entire season a year ago.
“We had a great defense last year. We went out and got some more key players on offense and defense, and I feel like we’ve got a shot”, Clowney added about his belief that his Browns have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations heading into the 2022 season.
He did just witness the Cincinnati Bengals make an even more dramatic year-to-year turnaround last season, coming within seconds of actually winning the Super Bowl, so I won’t begrudge him his belief, presuming that it’s genuine, that the Browns can compete for a championship this year.
Cleveland was not super active in the free agency market, but they certainly put a dent in the trade market, not just with Watson, but also wide receiver Amari Cooper, who gives them a legitimate number one threat who is actually, presumably, healthy. They now have top-seven salaries at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end, quite a pricey offense they have built. It absolutely must pay dividends for them this season.