The Cleveland Browns signing Jadeveon Clowney to go across from Myles Garrett would have been major news a year or two ago. Going into 2021, it is just a part of an exciting offseason but rarely considered the biggest part.
Instead, free-agent additions of John Johnson III and Troy Hill and draft additions of Greg Newsome II and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah get most of the attention.
The return of Odell Beckham Jr., Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit also seem to overshadow the former #1 overall pick defensive end out of South Carolina.
At this point in the offseason, Clowney’s addition is lumped in with Takk McKinley, Malik Jackson and Anthony Walker more than at the top of the offseason addition conversation.
There are a lot of reasons for that. Timing is the first. Clowney came later in the offseason and his signing was quickly followed by the release of Sheldon Richardson. His lack of sack production gives fans less to be excited about, as well.
In the end, Clowney’s longstanding health issues are the biggest reason for tepid excitement about his addition despite his physical talents. Since coming into the league, the defensive end has had knee, groin and back issues.
It is easy to forget that Clowney has played seven seasons in the NFL already. Out of the possible 112 games, he’s only played in 83 but most of those misses came last year, when he missed eight games, and his rookie season when he missed 12.
Surprisingly based on the injury narrative, the former Gamecock has played in at least 13 games in the other four seasons in the NFL as well as an additional five playoff games.
Coming off a core muscle injury that caused his issues last season in Tennesee, Clowney worked with his trainer Joel Seedman to get his body ready. Brad Stainbrook shared this video sent to him by Seedman:
The exercise shown in the video is working a variety of muscles by forcing him to stabilize on an unstable object. This will work his core, abdomen and back, as well as his knee and leg muscles.
If Cleveland gets Clowney near 100%, he will help create a dynamic defensive line able to cause havoc for the AFC. Even if he is near 75%, he should help the Browns be better on defense than they were in 2020. Not bad for a player that is sometimes an after thought of the offseason.