Ravens and Colts among teams keeping tabs on Jadeveon Clowney but Browns have been most aggressive to try to get something done. Clowney opted against Cleveland last offseason but this time feels different.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 12, 2021
Clowney is in ongoing contract/recruitment negotiations with the Cleveland Browns today and a deal could very well get done soon between the two sides—making this a moot point entirely:
The Cleveland Browns are in talks with free agent Jadeveon Clowney per sources. They are hoping to get a deal done soon. I was told “it’s not done yet.”— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 12, 2021
The former first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft is coming off an injury hindered 2020 season which limited him to just 8 games—having suffered a lingering knee injury.
As such, Clowney recorded just 19 tackles (14 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 0 sacks, 28 total QB pressures, 4 passes defensed, and a forced fumble during 8 starts.
When fully healthy, the former South Carolina defensive monster hasn’t quite lived up to his enormous draft hype, but he’s still been pretty productive at times—as a past NFL All-Pro and 3x Pro Bowler back with his original team, the Houston Texans.
That being said, it’s a fair question of whether a number of injuries have sapped Clowney’s explosiveness off the edge—including a past microfracture surgery on his knee.
He’s arguably more effective against the run—setting the edge, than as a pass rusher getting after the quarterback these days—as he has just 3.0 sacks in his last 19 starts with both the Titans and Seattle Seahawks.
Per PFF (subscription), Clowney was their 19th best graded edge defender with a +74.9 overall grade before the knee injury ended his season prematurely in 2020.
Of course, the Colts are reportedly in the market for a veteran pass rusher, in a group that not only includes Clowney, but presumably their own free agent edge Justin Houston.
Houston is set to visit the Baltimore Ravens this week, so Clowney could be an alternative option of sorts for the Colts.
The Colts could use a steadying veteran presence to help complement some of their more unpredictable and volatile young pass rushers—having already lost veteran starting defensive end Denico Autry in free agency.
Whether that’s Clowney or another veteran, remains to be seen.
Like anything else, it probably comes down to the cost with the Colts.