The Dallas Cowboys could pursue one of the more established pass-rushers in the NFL.
According to Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is a free agent the team should pursue. Knox argues that the Cowboys still have to replace the recently-departed Randy Gregory and Clowney ultimately fills that void.
“However, Clowney would be an excellent addition in the way of the Cowboys losing Gregory,” said Knox on Monday, May 9. “The Cowboys added Dante Fowler Jr. in free agency, but he’s been underwhelming away from the Los Angeles Rams. They didn’t draft a pure edge-rusher either.
Dallas logged a solid 41 sacks in 2021, but six of those were tallied by Gregory. Signing Clowney would help replace his production and then some.”
How Clowney Helps the Cowboys
Gregory and Clowney are very similar players in that they’re much better pass-rushers than their sack totals usually indicate. While Clowney did register a respectable total of nine sacks last season with the Cleveland Browns, he posted just three sacks during the 2019 season with the Seattle Seahawks.
According to Pro Football Focus, Clowney posted a 88.1 pass-rushing grade during the 2019 season, ranking 16th among all edge rushers with at least 100 pass-rushing snaps. By comparison, former Cowboys edge rusher Gregory registered just six sacks during the 2021 season. However, his 84.4 pass-rushing grade ranked 10th among all edge rushers.
Clowney also posted 37 tackles and 32 quarterback pressures last season, ranking 23rd among all edge rushers in the latter category.
It’s also worth mentioning that Clowney doesn’t appear to be in any rush in signing with a team prior to mandatory minicamp in June, as Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports HQ said (h/t Matt Howe of 247 Sports).
“Jadeveon Clowney, as I understand it, doesn’t have a great deal of interest in being under contract right now and either voluntarily reporting to OTAs or having to report to mandatory minicamp in the first, second week of June,” said Jones.
According to Spotrac, Clowney’s market value is at $12.7 million per season. However, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Clowney were to sign with a team for a much lesser value considering he remains a free agent deep into May.
Clowney earned a little under $7.5 million last season with the Browns. Considering the Cowboys have roughly a little over $11 million in available cap space, Clowney would have to take a discount to sign with Dallas.
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Browns May Be Favorite to Sign Clowney
While the fit would make sense considering the Cowboys’ need for a proven pass rusher, Clowney may see a better opportunity with his 2021 squad, the Browns.
Cleveland has the most salary cap space remaining of any NFL team at $23.7 million and could give Clowney his market value contract. Furthermore, it helps that Clowney already had one of the better seasons of his career in the Browns’ system.
It also doesn’t hurt that Cleveland’s star defensive end, Myles Garrett, vouched for Clowney’s re-signing with the Browns during an Instagram post in late April.
Per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com on April 24:
“He posted two photos of Clowney on his Instagram story, one a side-by-side photo of them holding up their jerseys on their respective draft days, with the caption ‘Only 2 Defensive Players have gone 1st overall in the last 15 drafts’ and one a photo of them slapping hands in their Browns jerseys during the Bears game in which they sacked Justin Fields nine times and Garrett set the Browns’ single-game sack record of 4.5. The caption read ‘Job not finished.’”
We’ll see where Clowney ultimately ends up, but considering he’s played for four different teams in the past four seasons, it wouldn’t come as any shock if the 29-year-old were to play for another different team in the 2022 season.