Thursday, January 19, 2023

NFL teams urged to avoid Brown’s defensive end in free agency

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Jadeveon Clowney will be a free agent this offseason, and teams should be wary of adding the soon-to-be former Cleveland Browns pass rusher.

Clowney’s two-year tenure with the Browns was a mixed bag. He was a solid partner for Myles Garrett in their first season together, notching nine sacks and providing strong support in the run game.

But things unraveled in Year 2 as Clowney dealt with injuries, recording just two sacks and trailing the team – and Garrett – with some comments to Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.

“You’re trying to get everyone [Garrett] into the Hall of Famers instead of winning games,” Clowney told Cabot. “I don’t even think so [Garrett] Hints. I’m not trying to say it is him. I try to get along with everyone I play with. Me and him have no problem. It’s not his fault and it’s bullshit and I don’t have time for it.”

Concerns about Clowney’s health, productivity and the acrimonious end of his time with the Browns led the former to be included on Bleacher Report’s “Buyer Pass” list.

“Edge rushing remains popular in the NFL. Clowney’s ability to contribute in that department when healthy and serve as a solid run-stopper will convince a club to give him a deal likely worth at least $10m for the 2023 campaign ‘ wrote Alex Kay of Bleacher Report.

He continued, “While this decision could pay off if the top overall winner from 2014 can stay on the field, it would be unwise to bet on the aging edge rusher long-term. Clowney would be a decent pickup for a one-year deal but being awarded a multi-year deal could haunt a club.

With Clowney out of the picture, the Browns will have to be aggressive to fill the gap. Rookie Alex Wright saw some time as a starter when Clowney missed time, but he may not be the solution next season as Cleveland needs opponents to respect who lines up opposite Garrett.

“It’s certainly a positional group that we value and will continue to value, not unlike the offensive line on the offensive side of the ball,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in his season-ending press conference. “We will continue to invest in it and make these decisions at the right time.”

The Browns also need to improve defensive tackle position after exiting one of the worst groups in football last season. The Browns paid the price with their inability to stop the run, which allowed for 135.24 yards per game.

The Browns defense should enter the season with a burst of positive momentum thanks to the hiring of Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. He takes the place of Joe Woods, who was fired at the end of the season.

The move was officially announced by the team on Wednesday and Schwartz spoke to reporters about what he would like to see from the unit, specifically the defensive line.

“We ran a very D-line friendly program that eliminated a lot of the conflict for these guys,” Schwartz said. “And we were able to get the guys off that, and we kind of let those guys go and be disruptive.”

Schwartz was the head coach of the Lions from 2009 to 2013. He won a Super Bowl with the Eagles as defensive coordinator in 2020 but said he had to step down due to health issues. Most recently, he was a senior defense assistant with the Tennessee Titans.

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