After not signing with a team all offseason, pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney finally has a new home. Clowney is signing a deal with the Tennessee Titans, who are coming off a trip to the AFC Championship Game in 2019. While the Titans and New Orleans Saints were reportedly Clowney’s main suitors, it has also been reported that he wanted to go to another AFC contender that wasn’t the Titans.
Jadeveon Clowney is a three-time Pro Bowler
Clowney was one of the top prospects in the country at South Carolina. He had eight sacks in 2011 and 13 in 2012. The amount of promise he showed led to the Houston Texans selecting Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
However, Clowney got off to a slow start in his NFL career as he only played in four games in his rookie season. He played in 13 games in 2015, though, and started to show his potential as he had 4.5 sacks and 40 total tackles.
Starting in 2016, Clowney then became one of the most effective pass rushers in the NFL. He ultimately earned his first Pro Bowl selection that year as he had six sacks, 52 total tackles, and 17 quarterback hits.
That Pro Bowl selection was the first of three straight for Clowney. In 2017, he had career-highs in sacks with 9.5, and total tackles with 59. Clowney also recorded 21 quarterback hits that year. In the 2018 season, Clowney had nine sacks, 47 total tackles, and 21 quarterback hits again.
In September 2019, though, the Texans traded Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks. Clowney suffered a core muscle injury in Week 10 of that season but decided to wait until the offseason to have surgery, according to ESPN.
He ultimately played hurt during the second half of the 2019 season, so he didn’t earn a Pro Bowl selection. Clowney had three sacks, 31 total tackles, and 13 quarterback hits in 13 games in 2019. He did perform well in the postseason, though, as he had 1.5 sacks and 12 total tackles in two games.
He signed with the Tennessee Titans
After going unsigned for the entire offseason, Clowney recently agreed to a one-year contract with the Tennessee Titans. The terms were not announced, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that a source said it is worth up to $15 million.
The New Orleans Saints were also aggressively trying to get Clowney. According to ESPN, the Saints reportedly looked into the idea of a sign-and-trade deal that would have allowed them to fit Clowney’s salary under the salary cap. The NFL, however, reportedly said it would not have allowed a deal like that had it come close to getting finalized.
So, instead of the Saints, Clowney signed with the Titans to play under head coach Mike Vrabel, who was Clowney’s position coach and defensive coordinator on the Texans.
The Titans’ defense allowed 20.7 points per game last season but held the New England Patriots to 13 points in a 20-13 Wild Card Round win. They also held the Baltimore Ravens to 12 points in a 28-12 Divisional Round win.
Jadeveon Clowney reportedly wanted to go to the Baltimore Ravens
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer had more in-depth reports about Clowney’s free agency situation. He said that Clowney had offers of around $15 million this offseason, but he didn’t want to go to those specific teams.
He also said that Clowney reportedly wanted to go to the Baltimore Ravens, but the Ravens were ultimately lukewarm about signing Clowney.
Signing Clowney would have been huge for the Ravens. Despite losing to the Titans in the Divisional Round last year, the Ravens were arguably the best team in the NFL during the regular season. They went 14-2 overall and had one of the best offenses and defenses in the league. While the offense averaged 33.2 points per game, the defense only allowed 17.6 points per game.
Adding Clowney would have potentially made the Ravens’ defense the best in the league, especially with the additions of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe this offseason.
Being hesitant about signing Clowney is understandable, though, with the down year he had in 2019. However, a healthy Clowney could have made the Baltimore Ravens even tougher to beat in 2020.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference