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NFL Draft

Why Tennessee Titans Must Sign Jadeveon Clowney

  • The Draft Network
  • August 4, 2020
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One of the more puzzling happenings (or, non-happenings, really) of this NFL offseason deals with pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

The former No. 1 overall recruit, No. 1 overall pick pass-rusher, who is still just 27 years old, was expected to hit a big payday this offseason as an unrestricted free agent. There was talk of Clowney potentially making somewhere in the $20 million per season range.

Here we sit in August, and as of right now, Clowney is scheduled to make zero dollars from an NFL team in 2020.

Obviously, Clowney won’t make $0 this upcoming season, but that was a different way to once again state that Clowney, for as coveted as we projected him to be, remains unsigned. 

Even if you talk to someone who is low on Clowney as an edge player—better as a run-stopper than a pass-rusher, won’t be a top-tier sack finisher in the league, is better as a defensive line addition than an individual difference-maker, etc.—even they have to admit that us getting to this point with Clowney is strange. 

Clowney finished the 2019 season, his first with the Seattle Seahawks, with just three sacks, but in the two previous seasons, he racked up 9.5 and 9.0, respectively, as a member of the Houston Texans. Clowney has also been a player whose impact goes beyond the stat sheet; blowing up playing in the backfield and taking the attention of multiple blockers so others can clean up the tackles for loss.

At this point, it seems silly to continue to ask the question of potential landing spots for Clowney from a broad, league-wide perspective. There are plenty of teams in the league who could use his services, especially for what must now be a discounted price from what we originally thought back in March.

But the one team I believe really should pull the trigger is the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans lost some big-time veterans from last season. They traded away long-time interior defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, and edge rusher Cam Wake is no longer on the team.

The Titans believe in pass rusher Harold Landry, who has improved year-to-year entering his third year in the league. But Will Lomas of Titan Sized found a great stat to quantify just how important a second edge rusher would be for Tennessee—and for the continued improvement of their young pass-rusher.

“I can't overstate how important it is that the Titans get someone going opposite Harold Landry. Last year he and Wake played 9 games together (just over half a season) and 78 percent of Landry's sacks came in those games.”

At this point, the question of where Clownery could land also must take into account the salary cap. Many teams have spent most of their cap space, and very few in the NFL have the room to add the price tag of a big-name edge presence. Tennessee is one of the few teams that can. Currently sitting at $22.4 million in cap space, per Spotrac, that’s the sixth-most room to work with in the NFL.

The Titans have also clearly gone all-in on trying to repeat what they did in 2019 with their magical postseason run. In order to do that, they can’t have their defense drop off significantly. There is some unknown after losing both Wake and Casey on the defensive line, and if you want to go a step further, not bringing back Logan Ryan in the secondary, too.

The Titans did sign former Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley to a one-year deal this offseason, but he has yet to show up to camp, as he was scheduled to do on July 28th. Many were skeptical about Beasley’s ability to bring what the Titans needed on the defensive line anyway, but without him, the defensive front is even slimmer. 

There are plenty of teams who would “want” Clowney, but he’s a must-sign for the Titans.

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