After striking out in a potential trade for Yannick Ngakoue back in April, the Las Vegas Raiders could still try to add a Pro Bowl rusher. According to Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan in Denver, Jon Gruden “really wants” to sign former number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. After spending his early years with the Houston Texans, Clowney was traded to the Seattle Seahawks last offseason.
Unfortunately for him, free agency hasn’t gone as planned. He’s yet to find an appealing offer and is currently in limbo. The Raiders are gaining interest really late in the game, but Lammey reported that they have yet to beat the offers of other teams.
Team sources tell me #Raiders have extended an offer to Jadeveon Clowney. 2 or 3 other teams have better offers. Jon Gruden REALLY wants him but Davis/Mayock are standing pat (for now) Gruden would like to up the offer. Interesting for #Broncos if JC winds up in AFCW @1043TheFan
— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) July 6, 2020
As Lammey pointed out, it looks like owner Mark Davis and general manager Mike Mayock don’t seem to be as interested in Clowney’s services. The rumor is that he wanted $20 million a year on his contract but that’s simply not going to happen.
Previous Rumors Have Indicated Raiders Aren’t Interested
While it shouldn’t too surprising that the Raiders might have an interest in Clowney, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported back in May that they weren’t going to go after him. Now, that could’ve just meant that Mayock wasn’t interested, but that doesn’t mean Gruden wasn’t kicking the idea around.
Based on their rumored interest in Ngakoue, the team does appear interested in adding a veteran pass rusher. They ignored the position in the draft and only signed one pass rusher this offseason in Carl Nassib. Maxx Crosby was great for the Raiders last season, but outside of him, the team didn’t get to the quarterback a whole lot. Adding a player like Clowney could certainly help in that area.
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Is Clowney Worth Big Money?
If Clowney is hoping to get anything over $15 million a year, the Raiders should take a hard pass. They used to have a much better version of Clowney in Khalil Mack and didn’t want to pay him. No, the former wouldn’t cost as much as the latter but the productivity difference is significant.
Clowney only notched three sacks last season and has never had over 9.5 in a season. He’s an excellent run defender and a solid pass rusher, but he’s not good enough to be paid like one of the five best defenders in the NFL. Now, if the Raiders could get him for $15 million a year or less, that would be a solid addition. Lining him up on the defensive line with Crosby could turn into a very successful pairing.
It sounds like Gruden is willing to go the extra mile to lock up Clowney, but Mayock isn’t going to give up easily. The Raiders invested a lot of draft capital into Clelin Ferrell at least year’s draft. Signing Clowney could mean that the team doesn’t have faith in Ferrell. They should probably give him another shot before they try to mitigate his role. Plus, Ferrell had more sacks than Clowney last season.