With the offseason in full swing for the New England Patriots, they will undoubtedly take the time to evaluate their roster and begin preparing for next season.
As is the case with any team in every offseason, some key free agents are expected to sign elsewhere, leaving Bill Belichick with the responsibility of finding an adequate replacement. With the Patriots set to lose a few key defensive players who helped form a lethal pass rush in 2019, there’s a major area of need for the Patriots to fill.
Though it might be a difficult task, the Patriots may be best suited to enter the sweepstakes for Jadeveon Clowney as the team prepares to make one final push at a Super Bowl as well as resign their legendary quarterback Tom Brady.
Clowney is also entering free agency after playing one season with the Seattle Seahawks. In 2019, he posted career-lows in defensive snaps, tackles, and sacks with a contract year looming. Although his numbers slipped, it did not diminish the impact he had on the Seahawks defense.
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Whatever It Takes to Win
Following the Seahawks’ playoff defeat at Green Bay, Clowney was very vocal about where he wanted to play next. In the locker room after the game, via ESPN, Clowney said:
“I just want to win. I’m trying to get to the Super Bowl by any means. That’s what I’m looking for: Who’s going to get me there? I ain’t looking to get on no sorry team for no money. That ain’t going to fly. I ain’t gonna put my body through all of that just to lose no 16 games, go home with my check. I’d hate that, so that ain’t what I’m doing. So if I can’t win no Super Bowl, I ain’t going to no team that can’t win.”
Though he noted it isn’t solely about the money, Clowney is still likely going to require any team that signs him to put a dent in their checkbook. Clowney made $15 million last season in Seattle and at 26, his best years lie in front of him.
The Patriots could realistically make $15 million happen, but it would mean saying farewell to Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, and likely making a few more cuts to players with existing contracts. One of those casualties could be Mohamed Sanu, who levies no dead cap money should he be released prior to June 1.
How Would He Fit in Patriots Defense?
Clowney would likely take the role that Van Noy and Collins shared last season as a hybrid outside linebacker and defensive end. With natural defensive end Shilique Calhoun entering free agency as well as Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers either underperforming or injured, Clowney would become New England’s top defensive end.
He could even help develop and form a partnership with Chase Winovich on the other side of New England’s rush. The Patriots are also likely to draft a linebacker and will make a push to resign free agents Elandon Roberts, Danny Shelton, and Adam Butler to sure up their defensive front.