The pass rusher and former No. 1 overall draft pick is expected to re-sign with the Browns after agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $ 11 million, the NFL Network reported Sunday.
Clowney became an unrestricted free agent in March following one of the more productive seasons of his career.
He finished with nine sacks, 19 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles while playing opposite All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, another former No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL.
It was Clowney’s best season in terms of availability and production since his final campaign with the Houston Texans in 2018. The three-time Pro Bowler started 14 games last season, the most since 2018 when he totaled nine sacks.
Clowney first joined the Browns last April when he signed a one-year deal worth up to $ 10 million with incentives.
“We love his relentless style of play,” Browns’ general manager Andrew Berry at the time. “He’s one of the more disruptive players in the game, and we think he’s going to add an element of ruggedness along our defensive line and will pair nicely with many of the guys we have on the roster already.”
Despite having a career renaissance in 2021, Clowney hasn’t exactly lived up to his reputation of being selected first overall, and he has dealt with numerous injuries.
In 2020, Clowney played in just eight games for the Tennessee Titans. He finished without a sack before undergoing knee surgery.
After the Texans made Clowney their top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, he would go on to play five seasons in Houston, earning 29.0 sacks and 67 quarterback hits. He later played one season with the Seattle Seahawks before his brief stint with the Titans.
The move keeps a veteran presence on the Browns’ defensive line to take pressure away from Garrett.
The Browns selected University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) defensive end Alex Wright in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft and Oklahoma edge rusher Isaiah Thomas in the seventh round.
With Clowney on the roster last season, Cleveland finished with a record of 8-9. He had two sacks in the regular-season finale and reportedly expressed his desire to come back if the price was right.
In 2020, Cleveland made it into the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
The Associated Press contributed to this report