CLEVELAND, Ohio –Myles Garrett and rookie Perrion Winfrey both got their wish Sunday, with the Browns re-signing defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
He agreed to terms on a 1-year deal worth up to $11 million, a league source told cleveland.com.
Both of the Browns defensive linemen lobbied on social media for Clowney, 29, to come back to the Dawg Pound and get after it. It means the Browns will once again have one of the most formidable defensive lines in the NFL.
“Run it back,’’ Clowney, who’s back in time for the start of Organized Team Activities this week, posted on his Instagram story Sunday.
Garrett, who set the Browns record with 16.0 sacks last season while opposite Clowney, posted two photos of the two of them on his Instagram story April 24, one a side-by-side photo of them holding up their jerseys on their respective draft days, with the caption ‘Only 2 Defensive Players have gone 1st overall in the last 15 drafts’ and one a photo of them slapping hands in their Browns jerseys during the Bears game in which they sacked Justin Fields nine times and Garrett set the Browns’ single-game sack record of 4.5. The caption read “Job not finished.’’
Winfrey, the Browns new defensive tackle selected with the No. 108 pick out of Oklahoma, was a Browns for all of two days when he tweeted at Clowney “LETS SHOCK THE WORLD.’’
The Browns, led by Garrett and Clowney, and with an infusion of power in the middle with Winfrey, will once again have one of the most formidable defensive lines in the NFL. The Browns also drafted edge-rushers Alex Wright of UAB at No. 78 in the third round, and Isaiah Thomas — Winfrey’s Oklahoma teammate — at No. 78 in the third round.
Clowney will also be reunited here with his former Texans teammate Deshaun Watson, which made a return all the more appealing.
Talked into visiting the Browns last offseason by his agent, Clowney was the perfect complement to Garrett and revived his flagging career. He wound up with nine sacks, the most since he had that many in 2018 in Houston. It also tripled his previous two seasons, when he had three in Seattle and none in Tennessee.
In fact, Clowney made $750,000 in incentives last season on top of his $8 million base salary for the nine sacks — including $500,000 in the last two weeks alone for his four sacks against the Steelers and Bengals.
Healthy for the first time in years, Clowney played up to his first-round status last season, and wanted to be paid like it this year.
“It is about money, but not about the most,” he said after the season. “It’s about being comfortable in the right place, guys around you, all that comes into play when you decide where to go.”
In fact, of the four teams for which he played, the Browns proved to be one of his favorites.
“It’s not always about what’s going on in the city but the guys you play with make a difference to me,’’ he said then. “It’s been one of the fastest seasons because of the guys I play with. A great group of guys. A fun group. The coaching staff is laid back. Everything has been going pretty smooth. I’ve enjoyed my time and enjoyed being up here so far. I am just looking forward to seeing what happens next and for the future for me.”
The prospect of pairing with Garrett again was a huge selling point — reminiscent of his productive Houston days with J.J. Watt.
“We both want to compete to get to the quarterback before each other,” Clowney said. “We both think we can beat our guys real fast and get there, so whenever I’m turning that corner I’m looking across from me like, ‘Hey, is he there or not?’ I always tell him, ‘Come on, you’ve got to be there with me,’ or he’ll always tells me to get there. He knows I can win. I know he can win. So it’s always good to have that. … I hope we can keep that going.”
Coach Kevin Stefanski was thrilled with Clowney’s production.
“He was healthy [for most of the season],” he said. “I think so many times in his past he hasn’t been healthy and has been unavailable due to injuries. He plays the game very hard. He plays with reckless abandon. He plays hard week in and week out. Very disruptive. Uses his length and uses his power and will. Was around the ball. He did a nice job.”
With Garrett, Clowney and Wright blasting off the edge and Winfrey wreaking havoc in the middle, the Dawgs will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
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