While almost everyone’s focus in the NFL is beginning to turn toward the 2022 NFL Draft, some impact players are remaining in free agency. Most of the time, this wave of free agency has older veterans that will latch on after the draft if a team cannot fill a need or players facing lengthy rehab times that could keep them sidelined for the beginning of the season. One team looking to make some moves still is the Kansas City Chiefs.
This year, however, there are legitimate starting options that remain available. One of the best players remaining on the open market is EDGE, Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney entered the offseason as one of the best free agents on the market, so to remain unsigned at this point is a little surprising, especially given how well he performed last season.
Clowney got things back on track in his season with the Cleveland Browns, racking up nine sacks and 53 total pressures as the bookend to All-Pro, Myles Garrett. In the previous two seasons, Clowney only had three sacks and 76 pressures, including an injury-marred, zero sack season with the Tennessee Titans in 2020.
While the South Carolina product hasn’t exactly lived up to the expectations of being a No. 1 overall pick, he has remained a very good player. Not the dominant pass rusher many thought he would be, Clowney has remained one of the elite run defenders in the NFL.
Since 2015, Clowney’s run defense grade of 90.9 is the sixth-best in the league. That makes him a valuable three-down EDGE defender that you can move around the formation to create mismatches.
The Browns would certainly like to have him back, but at this point, it is anyone’s guess where he may end up. He has played on a different team for four consecutive seasons, taking an almost mercenary approach to free agency as an EDGE defender for hire.
If he moves on from Cleveland, one team to keep an eye on is the Chiefs. The Chiefs have some newfound cap space after trading Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins and many believe they will use it to shore up their defense.
Adding Clowney to the front seven would allow the Chiefs to leave Chris Jones in the middle of their defense, where he is most dominant. He would provide a presence on the EDGE and help bolster a pass rush that at times was very quiet outside of Jones.
Given the arms race that occurred in the AFC West this offseason, Clowney signing there as well would be the cherry on top. He would be the fourth high-profile EDGE defender to join the division this offseason as the Los Angeles Chargers traded for Khalil Mack, the Las Vegas Raiders signed Chandler Jones and the Denver Broncos signed Randy Gregory.