Throughout the 2022 free agency period, Jadeveon Clowney was considered a high-profile name available to bolster any needy pass rush.
The former first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and three-time Pro Bowler was mentioned as a possibility for the Los Angeles Rams — with multiple national outlets having the thought of him adding needed depth in the edge rush department inside the “Rams House.”
Clowney, though, has made his decision — he’s signing a one-year, $11 million deal to remain with the Cleveland Browns, first reported by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer on the morning of Sunday, May 22 before 10:10 a.m.
Clowney Once Called a Potential Replacement for 2x Super Bowl Winner
Before deciding that the “Dawg Pound” was his permanent home, the towering 6-foot-5, 255-pounder with 41 career sacks per Pro Football Focus was considered a potential fit for the Rams‘ defense during the free agent cycle.
But the main reason why Clowney’s name was attached to the Rams? As a possible Pro Bowl replacement for two-time Super Bowl champion Von Miller.
Tommy Garrett of the Pro Football Network back on March 23 was among those who saw Clowney as someone who could’ve worn the Rams horns.
“So what do the Rams do now? One option could be to pair Aaron Donald with Clowney,” Garrett wrote. “Clowney appeared to thrive the last season due to defenses needing to keep eyes on Garrett. The same thing could happen in L.A. with the focus shifted toward the interior, as Donald draws more center/guard double-teams than anyone else in the NFL. With all attention being paid to Donald, offenses can’t double both him and Clowney. The Rams continue to prove the salary cap is a myth. They can do it again with Clowney and maintain a lethal pass rush.”
Rams team reporter Stu Jackson was another who wrote about the opportunity the Super Bowl 56 champion had in luring in Clowney.
“The Rams have some options internally to address Von Miller’s departure – Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis and Chris Garrett – but if they decide to look outside their roster, Clowney could be an option. The 29-year-old edge defender had nine sacks in 14 games with the Browns last season, his most in a single season since 2018,” Jackson wrote on March 31.
And on April 29, Erin Walsh of Bleacher Report was a believer that Clowney “would be a solid addition for the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams,” citing the need to fill the void bequeathed by the perennial Pro Bowler.
One Rams Defender Believes Miller Replacement Not Needed
While there are national pundits who saw the scheme fit Clowney could’ve brought to Raheem Morris and the Rams defense, there is one member of the Rams who is a believer that a Miller replacement is not a necessity.
Justin Hollins told the L.A. media via Zoom on Thursday, May 19 that the Rams will be “just fine” in the edge rush room.
“I don’t think we need to go find anybody new, nothing like that. It would be kind of crazy if I said we did anyway. I think we’ll be just fine. We were fine before,” the outside linebacker said.