On Saturday, it was reported that the Tennessee Titans have signed Defensive End, Jadeveon Clowney. The deal is expected to be 1 year and worth up to $15m. This deal comes after Titans reportedly showed interest in Clowney throughout the offseason.
Since free agency opened in March, Clowney has been talked about often around the NFL. Most recently, the Titans and the Saints were favored to land Clowney and ultimately, Clowney chose Tennessee.
Clowney will come in with some familiarity. Head Coach, Mike Vrabel, was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach with the Texans during Clowney’s first 3 seasons in the league. In Vrabel’s final season with Houston, Clowney recorded 9.5 sacks, the highest in his career. Additionally, one of Clowney’s best friends, Jonathan Joseph, signed with the Titans in April which likely helped in Clowney’s decision.
Clowney was drafted by the Texans #1 overall in 2014 and played for the Texans until last season. Days before the 2019-20 season, Clowney was traded to the Seahawks. Last season, he recorded 1 interception (pick six), 4 forced fumbles, 2 recovered fumbles (1 for a TD), 3 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 13 QB Hits in just 13 games. In week 10, he suffered a core injury but opted to delay surgery until the offseason. Despite the injury, Clowney recorded 1.5 sacks in the playoffs and ranked 5th in ESPN's pass rush win rate last season with 27.4%. When healthy during his career, Clowney has averaged about 8 sacks per season which would have ranked 2nd on the Titans last season, just behind Harold Landry III.
After the Titans traded Jurrell Casey to the Broncos in March, it seemed possible that the Titans would pursue a big player such as Clowney. Additionally, Saturday was the deadline for NFL teams to cut their roster to 53 players. The Titans kept just just 4 pure pass rushers, keeping room for Clowney.
This move was essential if the Titans want to make a post season run as they did last year. Ultimately, the Titans struggled in the AFC championship game because they could not rush the passer and make the tackles they needed to. I think this makes the Titans a likely candidate to make the AFC Championship again in 2020-21.
As I wrote when covering why the Titans should pursue Jadeveon Clowney, he is unlike many players in recent Titans history. Clowney is 6’5”, 267lbs and completely wrecks games. Even when he is not sacking the Quarterback or forcing turnovers, Clowney stops the run and draws constant double teams.
This move is incredible for the Titans and fills the biggest hole on the roster. With Clowney now a Titan, Tennessee’s defense is among the best in the AFC and the Titans are among the best teams in the NFL.