Last week, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Cleveland Browns had interest in free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Asked about the report during a conference call on Friday, Browns general manager Andrew Berry said he didn't want to comment on players who aren't currently under contract in Cleveland.
“I’m not going to get into the habit of really speculating about players that aren’t on our roster,” he said.
It wasn't hard, however, to read between the lines of what Berry said next regarding both Clowney and the Browns' plans for roster construction.
“We’re actively always looking, whether it’s draft, free agency, trades, waiver wire, you name it, to add players to our roster,” the first-year general manager said. "Obviously Jadeveon, he’s a good football player. But for us, it really goes back to something I mentioned maybe a few months ago. Rest assured, across all opportunities to acquire players, we’re going to be aggressive in adding talent to the roster.
"And we’re going to make sure if there is an opportunity to upgrade the team and we think that it makes sense, we’re going to be proactive there.”
It would be tough to argue that signing Clowney would qualify as just that.
Considered the top remaining free agent, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick is a 3-time Pro Bowl selection, who in Cleveland would team with Myles Garrett to form arguably the NFL's defensive end duo. In 13 games with the Seattle Seahawks, Clowney tallied 31 tackles, 7 of which came for a loss and 3 sacks while ranking as the league's No. 15 edge defender, according to Pro Football Focus.
What's more is that the Browns could save more than $15 million by cutting defensive end Olivier Vernon, who tallied 3.5 sacks in 10 games while battling injuries in 2019.
As for whether or not Cleveland will be able to sign the 27-year-old Clowney, that will depend on a variety of factors, including his asking price, his market and potentially, how the NFL Draft plays out. In addition to Cleveland, the Seahawks and Tennessee Titans have reportedly shown interest in Clowney. Per ESPN's Dianna Russini, the South Carolina product is seeking a contract in the $17 million-$18 million average salary range.