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Panthers Big-Name Signee Trying to Recruit Top Free-Agent

After signing with the Panthers as a free agent, Jadeveon Clowney wants to stay 'home' with a multi-year deal and get NFL help from a friend.

Jadeveon Clowney provides a sense of security, for himself and his new NFL franchise. 

After signing four consecutive one-year contracts, Clowney agreed to terms with the Carolina Panthers on March 27 and came “home” saddled with what he craved: a multi-year deal. 

The Panthers’ new outside linebacker highlighted the plethora of offseason roster moves executed by first-year general manager Dan Morgan. The presence of the 2014 first-overall draft choice gives the rebuilding roster a proven, All-Pro-caliber presence. 

The two-year, $20 million contract also offers the Rock Hill, S.C., native an extended audition for what he wants next: a multi-season extension. 

“Every year I sign, I work for the next contract,” Clowney said on June 11 following a mandatory minicamp workout at the practice field behind Bank of America Stadium. “I don’t want to be out of this league. My next thing is making sure I stay here. 

“I’m at home. That’s a big relief.” 

Bouncing back in 2023, a mostly healthy Clowney recorded 9.5 sacks for the Baltimore Ravens. He is expected to register similar totals as the featured edge for the Panthers, who are coming off a league-worst 2-15 season. NFL players are on break until training camps open in late July.  

“I feel great right now,” Clowney said looking to the future. “I’ll play as many more years as I can get out (of) my bed and have fun. Ain’t in no rush to quit. Four or five (years)? Who knows?” 

If Clowney delivers as a recruiter, Morgan could have another reason to ink him to an extension.

Panthers Big-Name Signee Trying to Recruit Top Free-Agent

Friendly Help

When he staged his initial Panthers press conference, Clowney mentioned the behind-the-scenes work he is engaging in to lure former high school teammate Stephon Gilmore back to Carolina.  

A free-agent cornerback, Gilmore is familiar with the Panthers’ franchise. He joined them as a 2021 trade acquisition and earned Pro Bowl honors. Entering his 13th season, Gilmore has compiled 561 tackles and 31 interceptions.   

Clowney, who also played with Gilmore at South Carolina, said the old friends remain in contact and that he would be willing to help negotiate a deal.  

“Oh yeah, that’s my guy, I talk to him all the time,” Clowney said. “Just come on and sign with the Panthers and be up here with me.”  

Despite his willingness to act as a surrogate agent, Clowney understands Gilmore has “options” and the decision “will come down to money,” Clowney said. “I stay out of it, let him do his thing.”

“I just hope and pray he ends up here with me. But it’s fun. It’s fun. Like I said, just talking to him and just picking his brain. He got options. When you got options, it’s even funner. So, I‘m just ready to see where he ends up.” 

Dave Canales: ‘Really Good System’ 

As an 11-year veteran, Clowney knows the NFL, and knows how fleeting a roster spot can be. Outside of his three Pro Bowl seasons with the Houston Texans (2016-18) and his 2023 revival with the Ravens, Clowney has been slowed by injuries. 

He amassed 52.5 career sacks in 126 outings but only appeared in at least 16 games twice. 

Familiarity with the Panthers’ system, which draws elements from previous Texans squads, could aid Clowney’s quest to compile a double-digit sack campaign and spark Morgan to open future contract negotiations. 

The Panthers’ 3-4 philosophy permits pass rushers freedom to follow the ball. On run plays, they are expected to set the edge and on pass plays, go get the opposing quarterback. 

“This is a really good system that (defensive coordinator Ejiro) Ejero has and has his coaching staff teaching our guys,” Panthers coach Dave Canales said. “And so, the way that we see it is if we teach good football, if our X’s and O’s are right when we add these premier players into the mix, it just really accentuates all of it and really makes it dangerous.”

Main Photo: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports


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