One of the Browns' biggest defensive playmakers and star players from a season ago is officially returning to Cleveland.
The Browns on Wednesday re-signed veteran DE Jadeveon Clowney to a contract that will keep him in Cleveland in 2022. Clowney, an eight-year veteran, built one of his best seasons of his career in 2021 with 11 tackles for a loss and nine sacks, his most since 2018, and formed one of the league's best pass-rush tandoms with Myles Garrett.
Now, he's returning to build an even better year and remain a core component of a talented Browns defense.
Clowney, the first overall pick from 2014 and a three-time Pro Bowler, has 41 sacks, 12 forced fumbles and 20 pass breakups in 97 career games and clearly thrived playing alongside Garrett, who broke the franchise sack record in 2021. Together, the duo combined for 25 sacks and achieved the highest combined sack total by Browns teammates, trailing only the 26 sacks by Reggie Camp (14) and Clay Matthews (12) in 1984.
With Clowney and Garrett back together, the Browns are set to once again feature one of the best edge-rush tandems in the league.
"We've become real good guys and close to each other because we play together," Clowney said in January. "I pick his brain, and he picks mine. We feed off each other out there. It's a good thing to have someone on the other end that you don't worry about. You're just like, 'Hey, I will meet you there [at the quarterback]."
The Browns re-signed DE Jadeveon Clowney. Click through to see some of his best moments as a Cleveland Brown.
Clowney, a South Carolina product, benefitted from a relatively injury-free year in 2021 and played 14 games, his most since 2018. A healthy year helped him finish the season in tremendous fashion with 5.5 sacks in his last three games, which was a big reason why the entire Browns defense closed the season on a strong note — the group ranked fifth in the league in total defense.
With Clowney now locked in for another year, the Browns are set to return nine of their 11 top defensive starters from 2021. LB Anthony Walker Jr. was also re-signed earlier in the offseason, while LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and all top players from the secondary in Denzel Ward, Greg Newsome II, Greedy Williams, John Johnson III, Grant Delpit and Ronnie Harrison Jr. are locked in as well.
The second-year stability should benefit Clowney, who hasn't played back-to-back seasons with the same team since 2017-18, but his first year in Cleveland left plenty of promise for what could be ahead in a second season with the Browns.