The NFL offseason is rapidly heading toward the 2022 NFL Draft. With teams beginning to turn their focus there as pro days are taking place around the country, veteran free agents are still looking to find a home for the upcoming season. One team that could still look to make some moves is the Indianapolis Colts.
Arguably the best free-agent still available is EDGE, Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney has turned into a bit of a mercenary in recent offseasons. He has been very calculated in his approach, signing one-year deals to maximize his earnings.
Clowney has played on a different team in four consecutive seasons, going from the Houston Texans to the Seattle Seahawks before moving onto the Tennessee Titans and playing with the Cleveland Browns last season. Last season, he finally got things going in terms of getting after the quarterback.
After a three-sack, 76 pressure stretch in 2019 and 2020, including a zero-sack season with the Titans in 2020, Clowney finally had some regression to the mean with Cleveland. He racked up nine sacks on 53 total pressures last season to go along with his stellar run defense.
Clowney remains one of the best-run defenders in the league, registering a grade of 90.9 since 2015. He was an excellent bookend to Myles Garrett last year in Cleveland but remains a free agent.
There is a chance that he is weighing whether or not a multi-year deal is worth taking this offseason, which could be what he is trying to work out with the Browns. If he takes the one-year deal approach again, other options could come available.
One of those other options may be the Colts. The Colts could certainly use a boost to their pass rush as there were only five teams to finish 2021 with fewer sacks than them. They were last in the league in quarterback hurries and 50 quarterback knockdowns, which was slightly below average.
With Al-Quadin Muhammad departing in free agency, there is a need at the EDGE spot in Indianapolis. Bringing Clowney in would provide the defense with a versatile piece they can deploy along the defensive line to create mismatches for other players to take advantage of.
Yannick Ngakoue was acquired in an offseason trade from the Las Vegas Raiders to help bolster the pass rush as well and would make for a strong bookend opposite Clowney. Ngakoue isn’t close to the run defender that Clowney is, however, so his acquisition shouldn’t deter them from pursuing the former No. 1 overall pick.