The Patriots should’ve signed Jadeveon Clowney on the cheap. No exceptions.
It’s official. The Tennessee Titans are signing Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year, $15 million contract. The New England Patriots are letting the team that punked them in the AFC Wild Card Game a few months ago get even stronger on a bargain deal.
Head coach Bill Belichick isn’t known to make constant splashes on the free agent market, and perhaps signing Cam Newton and the unprecedented roster turnover was all the Patriots could handle for a single offseason. But when you have over $35 million in cap space and are projected to be atop that category in the NFL in 2021, you can’t let this happen.
Clowney for $15 million? This is one of the best pass rushers in the league when it comes to getting to the quarterback and stopping the run. New England needs help on both sides of the ball, and to pass up on a deal like this just feels like pure stubbornness.
And letting Mike Vrabel do it to you again, indirectly this time? Enough of this guy.
It’s understandable that the Patriots might not want to interrupt the development of guys like Chase Winovich and Josh Uche, both of whom will be playing on the outside, but Belichick runs endless looks on defense where Clowney can line up as a 3-4 DE or LB. This felt like the perfect match given Clowney’s versatility. The fact that he isn’t glued to one position or one role means there’d be plenty of opportunity for other players to get snaps and flourish. All Clowney does is pull double teams, and you could make the argument he’d speed up the development of the guys around him by boosting their opportunities to contribute.
Not only that, but this move would’ve made the secondary that much better. The unit is already the best we’ve seen, with Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson shutting down opposing receivers. Adding a guy like Clowney who does nothing but disrupt would make those guys’ jobs that much easier. Gilmore could’ve maybe out-done his 2019 DPOY performance!
On top of that, the Patriots cut four linebackers on Friday and only have five defensive linemen at the moment. There isn’t a glaring need at either position, but both of those units could use some help in the form of an All-Pro talent for a Patriots-esque price.
We know Clowney wouldn’t have solved all of the Patriots issues, but he would’ve gone a long way in helping improve a number of them, in addition to bolstering their strengths.