Patriots Still Linked to Top Free-Agent Pass Rusher

Getty Jadeveon Clowney

The concept of one major dream team and free agent pairing is just too good to abandon.
The New England Patriots-Jadeveon Clowney rumors and speculation are still floating about and as we get closer to Week 1, we may be approaching make-or-break time for this oft-discussed potential signing. Could this deal, which has been called a long shot, still come together between the Patriots and the most highly regarded free agent still on the market?

At least one NFL.com analyst believes it’s still on the table.

NFL Analyst Implies it Wouldn’t Be Surprising to See Clowney Land With the Patriots

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NFL.com's Ali Bhanpuri believes there is still some life left in the Jadeveon Clowney to New England Patriots concept. He wrote: "The Patriots could use major help along their front seven after seeing several of their most disruptive defenders exit in free agency (Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton) or opt out due to the coronavirus (Dont'a Hightower). Those four players ranked among the team's top six leaders in QB pressures last season, while Collins and Van Noy ranked first (22) and second (21) in hurries, according to Next Gen Stats. Clowney had more than both with 23. The three-time Pro Bowler also had a higher stuff percentage (6.3%) than any player on Bill Belichick's dominant 2019 unit. Although New England has been talking up third-year linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley, asking a guy with 413 career snaps (per PFF) to fill the shoes of so many productive veterans is a lot, to say the least. Bringing in a player of Clowney's caliber on a team-friendly(ish) one-year deal — if he'd succumb to taking a bit less money — would alleviate some of that pressure, giving the Pats a versatile edge presence to team with second-year defensive end Chase Winovich and rookie outside linebacker Josh Uche. Clowney would get to play for one of the greatest defensive minds of all time before earning another shot to finally cash in. Would it really surprise anyone if the 2014 No. 1 overall pick becomes the next passed-over former first-rounder to land in New England?" #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #PatriotsNations #CamNewton #StephonGilmore #DevinMcCourty #JasonMcCourty #PatrickChung #BrandonBolden #LawrenceGuy #ChaseWinovich #JoshUche #KyleDugger #JoeThuney #JamesHarris #LamarMiller #JarrettStidham #AdamButler #DariusKilgo #DevinAsiasi #DaltonKeene #JulianEdelman #NKealHarry #MohamedSanu #DavidAndrews #BillBelichick #RobertKraft #AFCEast #AFC #NFL

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NFL.com’s Ali Bhanpuri made his case for Clowney to New England:

The Patriots could use major help along their front seven after seeing several of their most disruptive defenders exit in free agency (Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton) or opt-out due to the coronavirus (Dont’a Hightower). Those four players ranked among the team’s top six leaders in QB pressures last season, while Collins and Van Noy ranked first (22) and second (21) in hurries, according to Next Gen Stats. Clowney had more than both with 23. The three-time Pro Bowler also had a higher stuff percentage (6.3%) than any player on Bill Belichick’s dominant 2019 unit. Although New England has been talking up third-year linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, asking a guy with 413 career snaps (per PFF) to fill the shoes of so many productive veterans is a lot, to say the least. Bringing in a player of Clowney’s caliber on a team-friendly(ish) one-year deal — if he’d succumb to taking a bit less money — would alleviate some of that pressure, giving the Pats a versatile edge presence to team with second-year defensive end Chase Winovich and rookie outside linebacker Josh Uche. Clowney would get to play for one of the greatest defensive minds of all time before earning another shot to finally cash in. Would it really surprise anyone if the 2014 No. 1 overall pick becomes the next passed-over former first-rounder to land in New England?

Would the Patriots Really Much Such a Big Splash Now?

Conventional logic says no. The Patriots are getting surprisingly good play from rookie Josh Uche in practice, and he figures to play the move-linebacker spot a bit in the Patriots’ defensive scheme. Also, Chase Winovich is expected to make a leap as a pass rusher as well.

That said, it appeared as though the team had settled in with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, and two undrafted free-agent quarterbacks as their guys at that position before Bill Belichick and Co. made a splash and signed Cam Newton.

As Bhanpuri points out, the 27-year-old would have to make a concession as it pertains to his asking price, and many don’t believe that’s something he will be willing to do. However, perhaps there is a chance he simply isn’t interested in training camp, and would more prefer to skip that portion of the process. If he is going to latch on with someone during the 2020 season, it likely needs to happen soon.

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