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Free Agent Spotlight: Jadeveon Clowney

Free Agent Spotlight: Jadeveon Clowney

 
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    Now that the Super Bowl is over (at least I think it is, I don’t know, I fell asleep), eyes in the collective football world will be turned to free agency. 2019 is primed to be a huge free agent class for defensive players, highlighted by big names like Demarcus Lawrence and Earl Thomas. What you may not have realized is that Jadeveon Clowney’s contract also expired after this season.

Who is Jadeveon Clowney?

    In case you’ve forgotten, Jadeveon Clowney was the number 1 pick by the Houston Texans in the 2014 draft (over Johnny Manziel, what were they thinking?). Coming from the University of South Carolina, Clowney was a beast of an edge rusher, often finding himself in opposing backfields and wreaking havoc on the opposing offensive lines. With his 6-5 255-pound frame, the combined speed and strength to become what the Texans thought would be the final piece of a terrifying defense. While his first two seasons were marred by injury, the finally healthy Clowney proved to be a productive edge rusher for Houston, opposite JJ Watt. He only missed three games over the last three seasons, and just finished one of his most productive campaigns.

What kind of contract is he due for?

    Before I go on to discuss his contract situation, I must preface this by saying I am not an NFL general manager, and this is just monopoly money to me.

    With that being said, taking into account his physical abilities, his age, and his history of injuries; I would feel comfortable offering Jadeveon Clowney a contract of 4 years at 13,000,000/ year. How did I reach this conclusion you ask? Well, let’s start with the term. Yes, Clowney will be a star on almost any defense, but of his five seasons in the league, he was really only available for three of them. I know these were the last three, but history is history and I think four years is a fair term. Not to mention, he is currently 25 years old, which will make him 29 when this contract expires (note: Von Miller signed a deal at 27 to make roughly $19 million/ year). So given four years of reaching his potential, he would be due for an even bigger payday.

    Let’s talk salary, shall we? I marked Clowney in $13 million/ year territory. Some people may think this is lowballing a great player. Is it though? While yes, he had comparable numbers to Melvin Ingram, Ingram played in every game for the Chargers and has been the focal point of their defense. Clowney had 9 sacks this year, however, he did this to complement JJ Watt, who had 16. I guess my point here is, while Jadeveon Clowney is a great player, I don’t know if he has proven that he’s a game breaker yet in his short career. He’ll surely bring in a nice paycheck this year from whatever team signs him, but I think his next contract could pay out even more.

Where will he end up?

    Well, there’s always a good chance that Houston resigns their former number one draft choice, but what fun would that be? There are a number of teams that had a weak front seven this past season that would greatly benefit from the likes of Jadeveon Clowney.

    The soon to be Las Vegas Raiders could use a dominant edge rusher…and some receivers, a running game, a new coach…

    The Detroit Lions are always looking to bolster their defense. Which is surprising, given that their defense hasn’t been very good in a while. His 9 sacks would have been the most on this team.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could use an edge rusher to help keep the score low so Ryan Fitzmagic can work his…mediocrity.

    How about the Miami Dolphins? Assuming that Ryan Tannehill is still employed by them I’ll also assume they aren’t interested in winning for a while.

Conclusion

    While Jadeveon Clowney is a good defensive player, he still hasn’t lived up to his first overall draft pedigree. He is just beginning to show his upside, which might lead some teams to overpay for him this offseason. Let’s see how this plays out in the next couple of months.

-By: Nick Selko

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