For Jadeveon Clowney, money is the deciding factor, can the Browns meet his price?

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The Cleveland Browns added a lot to their defense in the 2021 offseason but some of those deals were of the one-year variety. The biggest addition, by name, was defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. While John Johnson III signed a long-term deal and was considered the team’s big acquisition, it was Clowney that grabbed headlines.

The former top pick was able to play in 14 games after missing half of the previous season. His nine sacks were tied for the second-best of his career, right behind the 9.5 he had in 2017.

Clowney’s presence and production helped Myles Garrett on the other side. The two huge defensive ends were able to push the pocket, disrupt the quarterback and the run game at the same time.

As one of the players signed to a one-year deal, Clowney is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season. Meeting with the media to wrap up the year, Clowney made it clear what would decide where he signed for 2022:

While he enjoyed playing with Garrett, Clowney made it clear that a discount to stay was unlikely. He will be 29 years old next season looking for a big deal despite only playing a full season once in his career.

Taking a look at the defensive end market from free agency last year, there are a couple of comparable players. Carl Lawson and Trey Hendrickson signed deals averaging $15 million a year. Arik Armstead signed a contract a year previous to those two players averaging $17 million a year.

All three of those players were younger than Clowney when they signed their deals. Robert Quinn was slightly older than the Browns defender when he signed his five-year, $70 million deal with Chicago in 2020.

With Garrett the third highest-paid defensive end in the NFL, Cleveland would have to commit an average of about $40 million a year in just their two edge rusher to keep Clowney at a similar rate to those noted above. With Denzel Ward entering his final contract year, along with Baker Mayfield, the team may not be able to push that much money into one position.