Raiders: Should the team make a serious run at signing Jadeveon Clowney?

Raiders (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Does it make sense for the Las Vegas Raiders to try and sign Jadeveon Clowney?

It’s been quite the rumor circus thus far for veteran defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. But could the Las Vegas Raiders be set to benefit from his slow-developing market?

From the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys dabbling in his market to connections with the New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans, and more recently, the Cleveland Browns and Raiders, it wouldn’t be out of proportion to say Clowney has had quite a few figurative balls to juggle.

Enough with the circus puns, though.

According to recent reports, the Raiders have put forth an offer to the three-time Pro Bowler.

There are few coaches in the league who know what they want more than Jon Gruden.

So when the Raiders’ head coach says he really covets someone, that would appear to be a ringing endorsement of the player’s talents.

More from Golden Gate Sports

Recall that Gruden didn’t want Khalil Mack, a similar type of player whose career in the NFL has been more productive to this point than Clowney’s.

Therefore, it can be deduced that there is some level of schematic fit for Clowney within defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s unit. The six-year NFL veteran has elite draft pedigree, as he was selected first overall by the Houston Texans in 2014.

Living up to said pedigree? That hasn’t exactly come easy for the former South Carolina star.

Clowney spent five seasons in Houston, sitting out most of his rookie year due to injury. He would amass 29 sacks in his tenure with the Texans.

That averages out to nearly six sacks per season. Though he did produce two consecutive nine sack seasons in 2017 and 2018, that had to be overall underwhelming output for Houston given the pick they used on him.

Even as Clowney got what he desired in a trade from the Texans to the Seahawks prior to last season, he missed three games with an abdominal injury. In the 13 games (not including playoffs) he did play for Seattle, he posted a lackluster three sacks.

Perhaps this context makes it clearer as to why his free agency process has been as idle as it’s been so far.

But despite what might be perceived as having fallen short of expectations for his career, Clowney can still make an impact when he’s on the field.

His three-sack figure from 2019 would have been fourth on the Raiders, who as a team collectively managed just 29 sacks last season.

More from Las Vegas Raiders News

Jadeveon Clowney could upgrade what was a weak Raiders pass rush in 2019

Defensive end Maxx Crosby had 10 of those 29 sacks. Benson Mayowa, a veteran defensive lineman who’s no longer with the team, was second with 7.5.

After those two, the next highest individual total drops down to 4.5 sacks. Those would belong to defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who the team expects to improve entering his second season.

Outside of Crosby, that amounts to very mediocre production from the position group as a whole.

Though the team brought in free agent Carl Nassib and his six sacks from 2019 this past offseason, he alone will not dramatically improve the relative absence of a pass rush.

In fact, you could say Nassib is merely replacing the departed Mayowa.

I guess that’s something?

Las Vegas didn’t exactly address their pass rush during the 2020 NFL Draft, either. They opted to take wide receiver Henry Ruggs and cornerback Damon Arnette with their two first-round selections.

It’s a bit surprising that none of the 2019 playoff teams who have been engaged in rumors regarding Clowney have pulled the trigger to this point.

He would qualify as a “missing piece” type of player for a team looking to smooth out some rough edges on an otherwise formidable roster.

That assessment doesn’t necessarily describe the Raiders’ situation in 2020, though.

The team does boast some considerable talent on its roster, but are they on par with the Kansas City Chiefs or even the Los Angeles Chargers in their own division? Not quite.

However, the circumstances around Jadeveon Clowney’s impending status seem to be favorable for Las Vegas. He would likely come cheaper than his current demands as he becomes more desperate to latch on with a team in advance of training camp.

Additionally, as noted earlier, Jon Gruden has a clear affinity for the former No. 1 overall pick. Considering Gruden’s power within the organization when it comes to player personnel decisions, that affinity has to carry some weight.

Next. Raiders: Ranking the top 5 linebackers in franchise history. dark

Provided he can maintain his health during the upcoming season, a Clowney/Raiders partnership could prove to be a worthy gamble.