Instant Analysis: Jadeveon Clowney Signs with the Browns

Tennessee Titans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (99) in action against Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) in the first quarter during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/David Berding)

The three-time Pro Bowler, Jadeveon Clowney, is here to stay this time. One month ago, Clowney visited the Browns but ultimately left Cleveland without a deal. One month following, Clowney took another visit. This time, he’s inking his stay.

Ian Rapoport broke the news, reporting that Clowney has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $10 million. The base price appears to be $8 million with $2 million in incentives.

His one-year deal is also signed just a little less than a year after brutally rejecting the Browns last offseason. Turning down a multi-year offer in favor of a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans.

However, it may have all just worked out for the Browns. In the end, they land Clowney and at a price most likely lower than what they had offered last season and will finally see the duo of Garrett and Clowney.

Until that duo is in action, instant analysis of the signing is provided.

For the Browns

As for the Browns, Clowney will be joining a star-studded defensive line that features Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson, Andrew Billings, Malik Jackson, and Takkarist McKinley.

The signing most directly affects Myles Garrett, who has a 26% pass rush win rate since 2018, ranking him third in the league.

With Clowney on the other side, Garrett, in theory, should face fewer double teams than before. Considering he has yet to line up across a player of Clowney’s caliber. Finishing the 2020 season with 12 sacks, 18 QB hits, and 48 tackles (10 TFL), Garrett’s numbers could explode in 2021.

And after kicking the tires for him in 2020, the front office and staff are certainly excited about finally landing Clowney in 2021.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski went on to call him a disruptive force who will aid in the run and the pass defense. General manager Andrew Berry also mentioned his relentless and disruptive play style that will add an element of ruggedness to the line.

Overall, the Browns are continuing to assemble one of the most well-rounded rosters in the league. After a second-round exit, the Browns could be in line for a historic season.

However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. According to a senior Yahoo NFL reporter, the signing of Clowney might require a salary restructure or the release of Sheldon Richardson. While nothing is set in stone, Richardson might be worth keeping an eye on in the coming days.

For Clowney Himself

To say Clowney struggled in his lone stint with the Titans may just be an understatement. Finishing the season with zero sacks and 19 tackles. More troubling is he only played in eight games due to a season-ending knee injury and had to undergo surgery.

Per Clowney, he feels great now and looking forward to proving that he can still dominate in this league.

Well, if he wants to dominate, Cleveland may just be the best fit for him.

Since 2018, Clowney has faced the third-highest double team rate at 28%. It’s no secret that teams will be able to double-team him less in 2021. Either they double Garrett or Clowney. Pick your poison at that point.

Clowney is undoubtedly looking forward to playing alongside Garrett. Mentioning how he gets double-teamed an awful lot. And how it will lead to him rushing more one-on-one. 

The less frequent double teams should allow Clowney to feast in the pass rush. After all, since 2018, Clowney has the fifth-highest pass rush win rate at 25%, one percent lower than his counterpart Myles Garrett. 

Keep in mind that Clowney has yet to post double-digit sacks in a single season in his career. While this is a concern, for the most part, this stat is the by-product of various injuries Clowney has encountered over the years, including knee, Lisfranc, elbow, back and groin injuries.

Could 2021 be the year he finally hits double digits? It certainly appears that way, of course, if he’s able to stay healthy.

Future Prognosis

It doesn’t get more win-win this. Both Clowney and the Browns are set to thrive. With Garrett and Clowney rushing off the edge, Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the AFC should be downright terrified.

This could be a scary defense come time 2021. One that Andrew Berry deserves tremendous respect for putting together. Bringing in impact players at all three levels of the defense.

These signings may have firmly put Cleveland in the position of the team to beat in their division and, if not, the AFC. Of course, games are not won in March and April. The Browns continue to have a great offseason. Whether that translates to success come playoff time, we shall find out soon enough.