It's been an interesting offseason for the Cleveland Browns. They hired a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski, they revamped their offensive line by adding Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr. and they added a premier pass-catching tight end in Austin Hooper.
Cleveland's offseason might have been even more prolific if they had landed pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney. However, he remains on the open market and apparently uninterested in joining the Browns.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com recently told 92.3 The Fan that the Browns made two separate offers to Clowney—one a one-year offer and the other for multiple years. With Clowney still undecided, though, Cleveland restructured Olivier Vernon's contract instead.
Vernon stood to make $15.5 million non-guaranteed in 2020. Now, he will make $11 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac. Vernon will be the No. 2 pass-rusher opposite Myles Garrett, and the Browns are apparently now out on Clowney.
Despite the two reportedly solid offers from the Browns, Clowney never seriously considered going to Cleveland, according to ESPN's John Clayton. The NFL insider recently joined ESPN 97.3 to discuss Clowney's potential fit with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"He's going to be interested in Philadelphia because one of the things and one of the reasons he turned down Cleveland is because he wants to go to a winning team," Clayton said. "He turned down Miami twice because he didn't expect them to be a winning team."
The Browns haven't had a winning season since 2007, and they haven't made the playoffs since 2002. While Cleveland may be headed in the right direction, it's impossible to consider the Browns a winner right now.
So if Clowney isn't interested in the Browns, why haven't they gone after former Vikings pass-rusher Everson Griffen? He would make sense, having worked alongside Stefanski with the Minnesota Vikings for several years. Griffen also fits Cleveland's plan on defense.
"The Browns value defensive linemen far above linebackers when it comes to spending," Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote in early June. "Keep an eye on Griffen."
According to Cabot, however, the Browns have never had Griffen on their radar.
"As far as Everson Griffen, you know, that would have to be a bargain-basement thing," Cabot said. "They've never been interested in him. Even though Kevin Stefanski has a history with him from Minnesota, they just have not shown any interest in signing him."
According to Cabot, the Browns decided to restructure Vernon's contract as a reward for staying patient during the offseason and through the Clowney buzz. It would appear that retaining Vernon was always the fallback plan for Cleveland.
One player who hasn't been patient this offseason is tight end David Njoku. The 2017 first-round pick fired his agent, hired Drew Rosenhaus and has demanded a trade.
Though Njoku has yet to live up to his first-round draft status, he has flashed plenty of promise. In 2018, he caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns. Some team is sure to take a flier on him if given the opportunity.
Cabot believes that the opportunity won't arrive, however. Though Njoku is likely to be behind Hooper on the depth chart, Cleveland has no intention of letting him go on the cheap.
"Andrew Berry is not going to give him away," Cabot said. "There is just no way. They've wanted him to be an integral part of this offense now and for years to come, and someone is going to have to pay a pretty penny."
Even if the Browns consider dealing Njoku, don't expect a bargain deal to materialize quickly.