Is Jadeveon Clowney’s agent Bus Cook down on the Cleveland Browns? If so, will Myles Garrett — also a Bus Cook client — be even harder to sign?
Will Andrew Berry and Bus Cook — the agent for both Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney — a way to get both players under contract with the Cleveland Browns? And if they do not come up with a deal for Clowney, does that mean that Myles Garrett is leaving Cleveland?
At some point, we Cleveland fans may as well face the reality that Cook is going to work just as hard for Myles Garrett as he does for Jadeveon Clowney. Fans may think that Garrett and Clowney are two ferocious athletes, and they are, but Bus Cook in his own way is just as formidable. His job is to be the toughest negotiator he can be, and so far he’s been very tough for Jadeveon Clowney. Maybe too tough.
Early on, I held the naive idea that Garrett’s presence would give Cook a positive feeling about sending Clowney here as well. I repent of that wishful thinking.
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There is zero reason to think that Cook is going to go easy on the Browns when they seek to extend Garrett. Garrett is due for the largest defensive line contract in history, and there is no reason to think this will be an easy deal. No, it will be a hard, tough knock-down, drag-out, smashmouth negotiation, and Andrew Berry may be screaming for mercy by the time it is over.
Recent buzz via Adam Schefter of ESPN and NFL Insider is that the Browns have the best offer on the table for Clowney, but Clowney may not want to come to Cleveland. Why is that?
Is it just the case that the player does not like our iconic corned beef sandwiches, or does the agent believing that his client’s interests can not be well served by the Browns organization? Schefter was not sure but did assert that the best offer —so far — is from the Browns.
If it turns out that Bus Cook really does not want his clients to play for Cleveland (and so far that has not been proven), then that he might be expected to lead Myles Garrett away at the end of 2021. The Browns cannot force Myles Garrett to sign an extension, so if he is going to leave, it behooves the Browns to get something for him. Thus, if Clowney takes substantially less money to go to some other team, it is a warning sign that Garrett may also not want to sign a long-term deal in Cleveland.
If so, it could be similar to the Khalil Mack situation. As a reminder, the football world killed the Raiders for trading Mack, but in actuality, they were much better off with having the cap space and first-round draft picks. Chicago did not win the Super Bowl after making this move, and they are not paralyzed by the salary cap. Oakland looks like a team on the rise, and they had two number picks yet again this year.
Hopefully, the anti-Cleveland thing is just a negotiating ploy. By the way, Bus Cook was also the agent for Jamie Collins, and the two of them did very well financially in Cleveland. On the other hand, Collins was terminated a year early, and so Cook and Collins took a $9 million haircut last season. So does Cook’s past experience help or hinder the present situation? It’s probably a bit of a negative.
Nevertheless, if Cook has put that unhappy experience behind him, so that client and agent are okay with Cleveland, the Browns are by far the most reasonable fit for Clowney. They have cap space this year, and they have the ability to generate $15.5 million of additional cap space if they decide to cut incumbent Olivier Vernon. Hence they can sign Clowney for one year, or make a major down payment on a multiyear deal. No other team has that kind of flexibility.
The Tennessee Titans are said to be interested in Clowney, but their cap situation is worse than the Browns. They could, however, squeeze out some cap space by restructuring other players or perhaps by cutting 3-4 defensive end DaQuan Jones, which could get them $7 million as a down payment on a multiyear deal.
If the Browns do succeed in signing Clowney, it is a big deal because in order to stop Lamar Jackson the defensive ends need to be fast. Garrett and Clowney would be a great combination. But if there is an anti-Cleveland bias emerging (and, once again, this fan is not convinced of that) it would be a significant downer and make it even harder to sign Myles Garrett long term.
Eventually, they may need to make a trade rather than end up with nothing. They need to end up like the Raiders with Khalil Mack, and not like the Cavaliers with LeBron James.