The 2019 NFL season is just about over, which means free agency is right around the corner. Pass-rushers always get big money on the open market, and Jadeveon Clowney stands to be in high demand in the coming months. The former first overall pick was one of the most important players on Seattle’s defense and has a long history of professional success. Just about every team in the league needs more pass-rushing help, but which teams are in position to bring him in?
2020 NFL Free Agents: Jadeveon Clowney Team Fits
The Seattle Seahawks won’t let Jadeveon Clowney leave without putting up a fight. Acquired just before the start of the 2019 season, Clowney ended the year with three sacks, 13 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, and one interception. His impact went far beyond the box score, as Clowney finished the year as the 20th-best edge defender in football, per Pro Football Focus.
It stands to reason that Clowney can get even better with a full offseason in Seattle. The Seahawks gave up a third-round pick to acquire Clowney, and they wouldn’t have done that if they didn’t want to keep him around. Whether it’s on a new contract or a franchise tag, look for Seattle to bring Clowney back for at least one more year.
If Clowney hits the open market, the Indianapolis Colts are probably the best landing spot. Despite missing the playoffs last year, the Colts have one of the best all-around rosters in the league and should be able to compete for a playoff spot if they can address the quarterback position. The biggest weakness on the team is probably on the edge, as Justin Houston is getting up there in age and Jabaal Sheard is nothing more than a serviceable role player. Adding an explosive pass-rushing threat like Clowney could help their defense take the next step and become a fringe top-10 unit. The Colts currently have over $91 million in cap space, so they could easily afford to bring in a player like Clowney and a new quarterback.
The Miami Dolphins need help all across the roster. Brian Flores looks like he could be the coach of the future based on 2019, but now they need to add some talent. Armed with $91 million in cap space and a plethora of draft picks, the Dolphins have the potential to completely transform their team overnight. Every position is a need for Miami, and Clowney isn’t capable of singlehandedly turning the defense into an above-average unit. However, at age 27, Clowney can be Miami’s defensive cornerstone as they enter what is hopefully a new era of success.
Trey Flowers played well during his first year in Detroit, but he couldn’t singlehandedly fix that defensive line. Despite ending the year as the 19th-best edge defender (per PFF), Detroit ended the year ranked as the second-worst pass-rushing defensive line in football, per Football Outsiders. Matt Patricia desperately needs his team to show some signs of life in 2020 if he wants to keep his job, and throwing money at Clowney might be the best way to do just that. If you still can’t get to the quarterback with Flowers and Clowney, then perhaps the problem isn’t the players on the field.
Honorable Mentions: New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders
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