A free-agent pairing that didn't end up becoming reality might be closer to happening a year later.
The Cleveland Browns hosted edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney on a visit Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, citing the league's transaction wire. Clowney has subsequently returned home and no deal has been reached, but the sides will continue talking to see if something comes to fruition at a later date, Rapoport reported.
Cleveland pursued Clowney's services last offseason, when the Browns had cap space to spend and a reason to add edge-rushing talent. The Browns offered Clowney a three-year, $57 million deal, Rapoport reported. Their attempt to bring him to Cleveland fell short, though, as Clowney turned down the offer and the former No. 1 overall pick ended up signing with the Tennessee Titans, where he failed to record a sack in a disappointing campaign that ended early due to injury.
During its pursuit of Clowney, Cleveland was never given a chance to sit down for a face-to-face meeting with Clowney due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, per Rapoport. With proper protocols and progress made on that front a year later, the Browns are getting the opportunity to bring Clowney in, meaning there could be a legitimate chance for Cleveland to strike a deal.
With Clowney once again a free agent, but with deflated value this time around, the Browns are again in a good position to add him to their defense. The Browns already signed former first-round pick Takkarist McKinley to a one-year deal earlier in the month, but continue to pick through the remaining free agents for additional help to fill the void left by the departure of veteran Olivier Vernon, who finally found significant success in his final season in Cleveland, but isn't expected back after suffering a season-ending injury ahead of his free agency.
Though he lingers as the top free agent left on Gregg Rosenthal’s Top 101 list, Clowney won't command the type of money he held out for in 2020, thanks to his underwhelming campaign with the Titans. Clowney's flashes of excellence still make him an intriguing candidate for multiple teams in need of edge rush help, though. Cleveland could be attractive for Clowney, considering he'd get more one-on-one matchups with Myles Garrett lining up on the opposite side of the line and commanding plenty of attention from opponents.
For now, it's just a visit. Stay tuned to see if Clowney ends up signing with a team that certainly wanted him a year ago and is once again interested.