The Cleveland Browns entered this offseason with plenty of buzz stemming from an impressive 2020 campaign. The Browns have continued to build off that with various moves in free agency. Cleveland has now secured a defensive star it has been in hot pursuit of for months.
Browns are coming off promising 2020 season
Following a disastrous year with Freddie Kitchens at the helm, the Browns finally moved forward in the right direction during the 2020 campaign.
First-year head coach Kevin Stefanski quickly brought stability, guiding them to their first playoff berth in nearly two decades. The Browns coupled that with their first postseason win since 1995 by topping their longtime division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, the Browns headed into the offseason with some glaring needs to address before they could become serious Super Bowl contenders.
Cleveland Browns finally snag the defensive star they have been chasing for months
Since the start of the offseason, the Cleveland Browns have been busy beefing up their roster to build off last year’s success.
The Browns have spent much of that time filtering through free agency and adding key players to strengthen their roster. According to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, Cleveland took another step forward by signing former Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney on a one-year deal worth up to $10 million.
“We’re excited to add Jadeveon to our defensive line,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said in a statement. “He’s a disruptive force that will help us against the run and the pass. We’ve been able to make some nice additions to our defense throughout free agency and we are looking forward to getting to work, so we can improve our team.”
Clowney met with the team last month but didn’t agree to terms on a deal. However, things changed this time around as the Browns secured a proven pass-rusher to pair with star defensive end Myles Garrett.
Cleveland’s interest in Clowney stems from last offseason as the Browns made a strong push to sign the 28-year-old. The team reportedly offered him a lucrative multiyear deal, but he turned it down and signed with the Tennessee Titans on a one-year, $13 million contract.
His interest this time around could have been impacted by many factors, such as the Browns coming off a playoff berth along with his recovery from knee surgery that he underwent in December. Clowney is on a one-year prove-it deal that will allow him to showcase his skills as he looks to return to a Pro Bowl level.
Cleveland continues to strengthen its defense
The Browns are taking a calculated risk with Jadeveon Clowney, but it’s a move that could work in their favor.
When healthy, Clowney is one of the league’s most disruptive pass-rushers. According to ESPN, he ranks fifth with a pass-rush win rate of 25% over the last three seasons.
The move indicates the Browns are serious about improving their defense significantly. Cleveland has made other notable moves this offseason to bolster its secondary with proven talent.
The team secured star safety John Johnson III on a three-year, $33.7 million deal and fellow former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill on a two-year, $9 million contract.
Cleveland also further solidified its defensive front with Malik Jackson and Takkarist McKinley. It has been a concerted effort to improve the talent on that side of the ball, and it could pay off significantly in 2021.