Free agency has been close to a disaster for Jadeveon Clowney. Last offseason, he held out because the Houston Texans hit him with the franchise tag. Eventually, he got traded to the Seattle Seahawks and proceeded to have the lowest sack total of his career. Despite that, he’s been asking to be one of the highest-paid defenders in the NFL. However, nobody apparently thinks he’s worth the money. It’s been so cold that ESPN reported that he had to lower his asking price, but still hasn’t gotten a team to bite. The Las Vegas Raiders are a team that could use some more talent on the defensive line, but according to Dianna Russini, they don’t have an interest in Clowney.
The former number one overall pick was one of the most hyped defensive prospects of the last decade. He’s had a solid NFL career so far and is still young, but he’s been hampered by injuries in almost every season of his career. It’s reasonable to suggest that he hasn’t lived up to the hype. That fact is accentuated by the fact that Khalil Mack was taken a few spots after him and is one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
Why Raiders Wouldn’t Want Clowney
The Raiders’ defensive line was much improved in 2019 but still wasn’t great. Outside of Maxx Crosby, the team didn’t create a consistent pass rush. That’s probably why they kicked the tires on a trade for Yannick Ngakoue.
Clowney wouldn’t take a trade, but he’d cost a huge contract. While an elite run defender, he just isn’t that strong of a pass rusher. His highest sack total on a season was 9.5. Those aren’t terrible numbers, but the Raiders already signed Carl Nassib, who’s good for at least six sacks a year. He’s also significantly cheaper. The team already has a solid run defense. They were sixth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game.
That’s not to say the Raiders couldn’t use Clowney. Outside of Crosby, he’d be the most proven pass rusher on the team and would make the run defense even better. Regardless, it looks like Las Vegas will take a pass. If he was asking for $5 million less a year, he’d be a really interesting pickup for the team.
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What About Everson Griffen?
No matter how interested they were in Ngakoue, they at least did a little homework on a potential move. That shows they have an interest in adding a veteran pass rusher. If that is the case, there could be a cheaper option on the market than Clowney. Former Minnesota Vikings star Everson Griffen is still available and he’s been one of the most consistent pass rushers in the NFL over the years.
The knock on him is that he’s 32 years old and pass rushers don’t stay dominant forever. He won’t ask for Clowney money, but he won’t come cheap. He probably wants something in the $10-$15 million range. Griffen would be the kind of veteran that Jon Gruden likes to add. The Raiders have a young defensive line and putting a proven star like Griffen in the mix could be a good idea.