Two weeks into NFL training camp and Jadeveon Clowney is still without a home. The former first overall pick has found his niche as a run stopper, yet still refuses to budge from his $17 million asking price as a pass rusher. With just 16 days until the 2020 opener between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, could Clowney still be without a home to begin the year? Fortunately, Pro Football Network Insider Tony Pauline has the latest news on Clowney landing with an AFC team.
Latest news on Jadeveon Clowney landing with AFC team
According to what Pauline is hearing, the former Texans star could be returning to the AFC after spending one season with the Seattle Seahawks. The home? Look no further than the Super Bowl favorite Baltimore Ravens.
“A lot of people in the league believe that in end, he’s going to end up with the Baltimore Ravens,” Pauline said in the latest episode of the NFL Draft Insiders podcast. “The Ravens need an upgrade with their pass rush. The belief from league insiders is don’t be surprised if he ends up with the Baltimore Ravens.”
The full podcast can be found at the end of this article, with the conversation about Clowney between Pauline and co-host Andy Herman beginning at the 26-minute mark. For more on what Pauline is hearing, including an AFC team who may swoop in, continue reading below.
When will Clowney sign with a team?
According to Pauline, there isn’t a rush for Clowney to join a roster. Teams will go through training camp, see their weakness, and then head to the market to add talent. Clowney, who will turn 28 in February, stated earlier this offseason that he would not sign for less than $17 million instead of his initial $20 million.
“Clowney, right now, the belief is he’s just going to sit out of training camp because he doesn’t like training camp. He had an issue with training camp when he was with Houston,” Pauline said. “He’s going to wait until the end of training camp unless someone blows him away with a huge contract.”
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Clowney did not report to training camp with the Texans in 2019 as he pushed for a long-term deal instead of playing on the franchise tag. The year prior, he participated in a minimal role after recovering from an offseason knee procedure.
“We’ve been saying for a long time there’s just no urgency,” Pauline said. “And as late as yesterday, I was told the same thing. There seems to be no immediate urgency. He’s just going to wait it out.”
Last season, Clowney was traded by the Texans to the Seahawks in exchange for two players and a 2020 third-round pick (later traded to the now Las Vegas Raiders for Gareon Conley). Marking the third consecutive season where he has not participated in training camp, the initial belief is it will be at least another week before the former top selection signs a deal.
Are the Baltimore Ravens a perfect fit for Jadeveon Clowney?
The market was open this offseason for Clowney as the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, and Seattle all made offers. However, scheme fit has been a big reason for his success.
During his time in Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 system, Clowney saw a career-best in sacks, tackles, tackles for losses and quarterback hits. A move inside with the Seahawks saw his production diminish, tallying 31 tackles, 13 quarterback hits, three sacks, and seven tackles for losses.
In Wink Martindale’s system, Clowney would return to his former position as the “JACK” backer in a 3-4 set. Alongside Matthew Judon, his run-stopping ability to become a perfect fit off the edge behind newly acquired Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell. Although not an elite pass rusher, Clowney would bring a veteran presence to a roster that finished 21st in sacks and failed to produce a double-digit pass rusher.
Baltimore could now be the front-runners to land Clowney following the departure of All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Thomas, who signed a four-year, $55 million deal in 2019, was released following an altercation with fellow safety Chuck Clark. The Ravens created an extra $6 million in cap space and will try to void his $10 million guaranteed salary this season. It is expected the 31-year-old safety will file a grievance.
With Thomas’s release, the Ravens now will have roughly $16.6 million in cap space entering the new season. Compared to other teams that have inquired to Clowney services, only the Browns and Titans offer a better value towards the asking price.
Could the Pittsburgh Steelers sign Jadeveon Clowney?
The AFC North might win the Clowney contest even if Baltimore doesn’t. According to Pauline, keep an eye on the Pittsburgh Steelers to be in the mix once camp comes to a close.
“A source close to Clowney told me the Pittsburgh Steelers have been poking their nose around to see if they can sign him. I don’t think he’s going to end up with the Steelers,” said Pauline. “…With the Steelers, they’re strapped at the cap. They don’t have a lot of room. They’d have to make room and the situation would have to be right.”
Pittsburgh led the NFL with 54 sacks in 2019. Both T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree saw breakout years as the duo combined for 26 takedowns. Dupree, who signed his franchise tag tender, is expected to make $15.8 million for the impending season.
To sign Clowney, Pittsburgh would likely have to find a trading partner for Dupree. Entering the season with $4.7 million in the cap space, Dupree’s departure would put Pittsburgh over $20 million — well within the signing range of the NFL’s top free agent.
More from Pauline on the NFL Draft Insiders Podcast
The latest news on Clowney signing with an AFC team can be heard beginning at the 26-minute mark.