If Jadeveon Clowney is not an option, the Cleveland Browns could look to bring in a guy like Za’Darius Smith to fill the void at defensive end.
With legal tampering open for the NFL Free Agency period, the Cleveland Browns are set to be very busy. One of the big pieces of the 2022 offseason was to find a way to keep Jadeveon Clowney. He was a late add before 2021, but really shined in brown and orange.
While some believed he may see the value of playing alongside Myles Garrett, the latest rumors are the Browns will struggle to retain because he is out for the most money. I originally wanted Andrew Berry to do whatever it took to keep Clowney, but my mind may quickly be changing.
With the Packers able to retain Aaron Rodgers and desperate to figure out how to keep Davante Adams, they had to let one of their best defensive players go in Za’Darius Smith. This is a business, and unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough money for everyone.
In 2019 and 2020, Smith had 26 sacks and 60 quarterback hits. The big question mark for teams, will he be the same after a back injury that cost him the final 16 games of the 2021 season. Reports are that the Browns have done their due diligence and could have an interest.
Here is the upside to Smith. He likely comes at a better price than Clowney and has similar if not better production. The organization would also get compensatory draft picks in 2023 for losing Clowney in free agency.
If Smith is truly healthy (big question), it could be a home run for the Browns. Not only would Smith get a nice payday, but he would also have far less pressure as the number two pass rusher behind Garrett.
With news that Emmanuel Ogbah is already off the market, this could be a real potential.