Three of the biggest remaining NFL free agents have ties to the Cleveland Browns. Jarvis Landry’s time in Cleveland seems to be over and Odell Beckham Jr.’s ended unceremoniously, despite John Johnson III saying he could return.
That leaves Jadeveon Clowney as the remaining former Browns player still on the team’s radar. Clowney’s return seemed unlikely when the offseason began but trading for Deshaun Watson and the pending departure of Baker Mayfield seems to have changed things.
If Clowney returns, Chase Winovich takes over the role Takk McKinley held last year before getting hurt while Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas can play the part of developmental edge rushers.
While Clowney’s return seems more certain than anything, a team closer to his South Carolina home could lure him away:
.@AlbertBreer on @afternoon923FAN re: Clowney: “If a team closer to home winds up making an offer that’s competitive with the #Browns, it will be interesting to see what he does. I know the Browns feel pretty good that they’ve got a more than decent shot of bringing him back”
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) May 4, 2022
The Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons would be the two closest teams but neither are ready to compete right now. Both have over $15 million in cap space so they could structure a contract that could interest Clowney but he doesn’t seem to fit their timelines.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans may also fit the idea of “closer to home” but the Jaguars aren’t ready to compete and the Titans may not be interested in Clowney returning at this time.
It seems like the market for the former top overall pick is pretty slim at this point but it only takes one team getting desperate for that to change. Clowney’s return to Cleveland still looks like the favorite but the lure of being closer to home could still win out.