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4 top landing spots for Jadeveon Clowney in NFL free agency

Jadeveon Clowney
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney entered the NFL as one of the most hyped draft prospects in years. While he hasn’t quite matched the expectations set for a No. 1 pick, multiple NFL teams would be elated to land the edge rusher this offseason.

It’s no secret what the 6-foot-5 defensive end is capable of accomplishing. He thrived in 2021 with the Cleveland Browns, serving as the perfect complement to Myles Garrett. It’s not a surprise that the front office wants to bring him back, but the South Carolina alum brings a set of skills that are coveted around the NFL.

While some fans might still view Clowney as a bust, considering the pre-draft hype, he’s a phenomenal player. In the right scheme, he can be one of the most impactful defensive linemen in football.

With that in mind, let’s examine the best landing spots for Jadeveon Clowney.

Cleveland Browns

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland made the right decision to sign Clowney last offseason. The defense lacked a No. 2 edge rusher, someone who could defend the run and rack up some sacks when opponents double-teamed Garrett. While Clowney missed two games, he played at a very high level when on the field.

Related: 2022 Cleveland Browns mock draft

He fit inside the locker room and meshed very well with Garrett. In terms of his impact on Cleveland’s defense, the Browns finished with the 12th-best run defense (109.2 ypg allowed) despite their linebackers and safeties missing plenty of tackles.

Bringing in another pass rusher or spending a top pick on an edge defender risks a potential downgrade or Cleveland getting worse against the run. It’s why a reunion with Clowney feels like a great fit for both sides.

Seattle Seahawks

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles
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On the surface, some might view the Jadeveon Clowney trade as a decision that backfired for the Seattle Seahawks. He only played in 13 games during that lone 2018 season and finished with just 7 TFLs and 3 sacks. However, it only cost a 2020 third-round pick (Devin Asiasi) and two rotational players (Jacob Martin, Barkevious Mingo). With a new defensive coaching staff, a reunion isn’t out of the question.

Seattle needs a three-down edge defender like Clowney. He’s not going to lead the team in sacks, but he is outstanding against the run and knows how to create leverage on offensive linemen. Those are things the Seahawks didn’t get last season out of its defensive ends.

  • Jadeveon Clowney contract projection: 1 year, $14 million

Playing alongside defensive tackle Poona Ford, Clowney could see some one-on-one blocks and he’ll win thanks to his power and explosiveness. Considering the Seahawks promoted Clint Hurtt from defensive line coach to coordinator, the team might put an even stronger emphasis on the trenches in 2022.

Los Angeles Chargers

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers missed the playoffs this past season because they couldn’t stop the run. Opponents averaged 138.9 rushing yards per game (30th) and averaged 4.6 yards per rush (27th). Just as concerning, Los Angeles surrendered 170-plus rushing yards in seven games and six f their losses came when an opponent crossed the 140-yard threshold.

  • Jadeveon Clowney advanced stats: 53 total pressures, 26 run stops

Signing Clowney is the first step towards fixing that. He will play opposite of Nick Bosa, creating a similar dynamic to what the Browns found success with in the Clowney-Garrett combo. Opponents will find outside runs are sealed off, funneling everything inside. If the Chargers draft Jordan Davis or a run-stuffing linebacker, this defense will improve dramatically in 2022.

New York Giants

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows the New York Giants need edge rushers. While rookie Azeez Ojulari displayed the tools to become a very impactful pass rusher, he’s not a well-rounded player. Between his inconsistency and New York’s other edge defenders getting bullied around, it culminated in bad results.

There’s another intriguing element when it comes to Jadeveon Clowney playing for the New York Giants. We’re going to see a more aggressive version of defense under defensive coordinator Don Martindale. He’s one of the best in the NFL at creating mismatches for his edge rushers and he could have a lot of fun with Clowney’s collection of skills. As long as the Giants don’t expect him to be a No. 1 pass rusher who gets double-digit sacks, Clowney will meet expectations.