Jadeveon Clowney was considered a generational talent, unlike anything we've ever seen before and can't miss prospect leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.
While they were all cliched phrases, it rang true after he was selected first overall by the Houston Texans. He was expected to become the savior for a franchise that already had J.J. Watt, and the two were expected to be the next great pairing.
But that never became a reality and Clowney was eventually traded to the Seattle Seahawks where he went on to become one of the team’s most important pieces. In the deal, the franchise had to surrender linebackers Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin plus a third-round pick in the upcoming 2020 draft.
Despite playing in 13 games last season, Clowney recorded career lows in tackles (21) and sacks (three). It makes for an interesting free-agent market as he remains to still live off of his hype coming into the league. But Clowney has to record a 10-plus sack season and is expected to command an excess of $20 million a year — an astronomical number and one that would make him one of the league’s highest-paid defensive ends. But is Clowney really worth that? That's a factor that remains to be seen.
Clowney could be looking at his third team in as many seasons. There's a wide belief that his development has been stagnant because he’s used to getting by with his natural athleticism, which has made him comfortable with his technique simply because he's better than everybody.
Even though his market has been relatively quiet, he's still a hot commodity. While most of the top free agents have already found a home, Clowney's stance and price tag have remained the same.
Let's examine two teams that make sense for him given the current situation.
After signing Ziggy Ansah to a one-year deal and trading for Clowney, the Seahawks felt as if their pass rush woes were delayed for at least one season. The opposite proved to be true as both rushers struggled to find their way into the backfield of the opposition.
With the money that he's expected to command, the situation with Clowney is extremely tricky because you don't want to agree to pay him and have him continue to stay on the same career trajectory. With greater job security, Clowney is expected to take his game to another level, but there's always a reason for hesitancy due to his lack of production across the board.
Seattle possesses zero threats of any twitchy edge rushers on the roster, and Clowney's return could ease the need among a moderate draft class but the price will always be the aspect that circles his entire status with a possible return.
The Miami Dolphins have already made moves to sure up their edge rush presence by signing Shaq Lawson and Kyle Van Noy. Head coach Brian Flores emphasizes versatility with his defenders and Clowney exemplifies exactly that. He is a perfect fit in Flores’ scheme but, once again, the price has to be right considering the money that the team still has available.
The Dolphins have already shown they are ready to bring in outside free agents by signing Byron Jones and among others, but Clowney and his strong personality are on a different level. After reportedly having an interest in Clowney while he was on the trading block prior to his trade to the Seahawks, the Dolphins could pursue him if he reduces his price demands.