Browns stock report: Deshaun Watson rises while Denzel Ward falls

Browns, Jedrick Wills. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Jedrick Wills. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Browns, Jadeveon Clowney
Browns, Jadeveon Clowney. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Browns Stock down 3: Jadeveon Clowney

If Jadeveon Clowney were a stock, he would be trading for pennies on the dollar right now. A three-time Pro Bowler, Clowney was sent home after expressing his conspiracy theory that the coaching staff was against him because of their desire to somehow manipulate things to promote Myles Garrett’s theoretical Hall of Fame candidacy (that will happen in about the year 2035 or so). These comments are very out of character for Clowney. Disappointing doesn’t begin to describe our reaction.

The likely truth is that Clowney has been an amazing athlete his entire life, but he’s entering a different phase of his life now. His performance hasn’t met anyone’s expectations this season. He had only two sacks, after nailing the quarterback nine times last season. He has four tackles for a loss this season after collecting 11 last season. He’s not the same player. Deep down, perhaps he realizes that, but it may not be easy to accept.

It seems like he has been around forever, but he will only be 30 in February. In football terms, that’s old but not ancient. However, it’s not just the age, it’s the mileage. He has had his share of injuries, including a torn meniscus which required two surgeries, including microfracture surgery, two arthroscopic knee surgeries, core muscle surgical repair, and several other procedures. We on the outside cannot know what sacrifices he makes to get on the field, but we certainly should not judge, either.

His game was built on amazing speed and quickness as a pass rusher. Whoever heard of a man who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 267 pounds who could clock 4.53 in the 40-yard dash? The Browns were always thrilled by his raw ability and were willing to take a chance on his durability. He still has flashes of brilliance, but he’s not a good guy to play lots of snaps.

The numbers on Clowney’s contract are reported differently in the media. However, according to Over the Cap, there are four voidable years on his deal for 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026, each of which is assigned a bonus money charge of $1.6 million which appears on the Browns cap for that respective year. That totals $6.4 million.

If a new contract isn’t signed, then all those charges will be assigned to 2023. If a new contract is signed, then that money could continue to be mostly deferred to future years. Hence, the Browns are the one team in the NFL that would have been motivated to make an offer to Clowney for 2023, and he basically has foolishly burned his bridges behind him.

Clowney, along with 31 of the other teams in the NFL, is going to have to decide whether he will continue to play football in 2023. The scouting reports are not going to support a long-term deal at a premier pay scale.

Perhaps it is a conspiracy among Browns management, or perhaps the poisonous laptop computers of Dawg Pound Daily contributors. But it probably has more to do with only two sacks working across from Myles Garrett, the undisputed king of double-teaming.