Report: Jadeveon Clowney unlikely to return to the Browns

The Cleveland Browns have a few important decisions to make this offseason with players that they could release. The Jarvis Landry situation seems to have most of the attention but is far from the only one.

Outside of the team’s decision related to tendering D’Ernest Johnson, the pending free agency of Jadeveon Clowney. At the end of the season, Clowney made it clear that money would decide where he would play next year. While refreshingly honest, it seemed to be a sign that it would not be in Cleveland.

The defensive line is one of the biggest needs on the team whether Clowney returns or not.

While the Browns rolled over cap space and even let Andy Janovich go, saving a little bit of cap space, giving the often injured Clowney a huge deal doesn’t seem likely.

A new report by The OBR’s Brad Stainbrook is that the defensive end is unlikely to return:

Jadeveon Clowney, who sources tell TheOBR is settling his affairs in Cleveland this week, currently does not plan on returning to the Browns next season. Clowney is expected to enter free agency with a larger market coming off a strong nine-sack season.

“Settling his affairs” is a huge sign that he knows that he won’t be back. While the official tampering period hasn’t opened, the unofficial period opened at the NFL combine. It seems Clowney’s agent has a good idea that he will get a much bigger offer than the one Cleveland has given him.

His one-year deal with the Browns had four voidable years at the end of it. Whether he is on the team or not, Clowney will cost $3.6 against the salary cap in 2022 and another $5.4 combined over the three seasons after that.

If Clowney does not return, the Browns currently have one starting-level defensive lineman on their team, Myles Garrett. While Garrett is amazing and some of the younger talents could step up, the team will need to address the line in free agency and/or the draft with vigor. That was true if Clowney returned but even more true if he doesn’t.