The Indianapolis Colts have already taken a big risk this offseason. They acquired Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles to take over as their starting quarterback after Phillip Rivers retired. Could they take another risk by signing star free agent pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney?
The organization is hopeful that Wentz can regain the form he had under Frank Reich when Reich was his quarterback coach in Philadelphia. Wentz was playing at an MVP level before injuring his knee, so there is optimism he can get things turned around.
If Wentz returns anywhere that level, the team is a legitimate contender in the AFC. Could they also look to rekindle some old magic with another top pick, this one on defense? That would be Clowney, who was named a perfect match for the Colts in this year’s free agency.
At this point, Clowney seems to have more name recognition than performance on the field. Clowney didn’t register a sack for the toothless Tennessee Titans’ pass rush last season in an eight-game injury-riddled season. He has yet to register a double-digit sack season and has appeared in all 16 games only once. Yet, there is still a lot of appeal to a move like this.
Clowney is still on the right side of 30, as he turned 28 in February. While his sack numbers aren’t great, he is a difference-maker in the run game, making him a great fit for the scheme the Colts use defensively. Two years ago, Clowney registered a career-high 87.2 PFF grade, so Indianapolis would be hoping he could get closer to that level of production.
The Colts have a strong nucleus defensively with DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard, and Malik Hooker. Adding someone as talented as Clowney as a complementary piece around them could help take them to the next level.
Expect to see Chris Ballard and the Colts put together a busy offseason. They know they are close to contention in the AFC and Jadeveon Clowney could be a move that helps them make a push for a Super Bowl appearance.