No. The Eagles should not sign Jadeveon Clowney. Thank you for reading.
On a serious note, Jadeveon Clowney is not a bad player, but there is a sense of hype around him that feels unjustified at this point in his career. In 2019, his contract-year, a year in which he made $8,000,000 and was expected to prove his worth as a game-changing defensive end, he underwhelmed with a total of 3 sacks. While I understand that sacks are not the only way a defensive end can impact the game, I also see that 3 sacks are not exactly something to warrant paying the annual $20,000,000 that Clowney is now looking for.
To put that into perspective, the Eagles rotational DE Josh Sweat and starting DE Derek Barnett both had more sacks in 2019 at 4 and 6.5 respectively. Veteran DE Vinny Curry even had more sacks at 5 in 2019. In the cases of Curry and Sweat, they even played less pass rush snaps than Clowney. How much did these players make in 2019?
As I mentioned previously, I am more than aware that sacks are not the only way to measure a defensive end’s impact on the game. You can talk about their pressures, QB hits, passes batted down, tackles for loss, and a number of other factors. However, when you see Jadeveon Clowney, just on the simple eye test, he does not give you the feeling that he is going to dominate at any point of a game. His hype was created based on the hit which happened in college in 2013 vs. Michigan.
Truthfully, Clowney is not the player he has the potential to be. While many say injuries were the reason for his dip in production in 2019, he has never topped 10 sacks in a single year in his career, maxing out at 9.5 sacks while playing across JJ Watt in Houston. Is that kind of production really worth a $20,000,000 annual investment? For the Eagles, it does not make much sense, even on a short deal. The Eagles have some young unproven talent who they could reasonably expect 3.0 sacks out of in 2020. So why pay $20,000,000?
Now, I do not mention Shareef Miller to say that the Eagles are set at the DE position. It is worth noting that Miller did not play a single snap in 2019. The Eagles also have Daeshon Hall, a young DE who could also provide some pressures and QB hits in a rotational role. The overall message here is that the Eagles have some unproven talent to give some pass rush snaps to without having to pay any (or all 5 DEs mentioned combined) $20,000,000.
Jadeveon Clowney is a good player and while he may see a jump in production in 2020, it should not be on the Eagles. If the Eagles want to add a veteran DE to the current DE room, here are a few better options:
Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings: Unlike Clowney, Griffen would not command as much money while offering more production. He had 8.0 sacks in 2020 and has had a solid career overall. While he is 32 years old, the Eagles would not need to commit more than 1-2 years to him. He could provide the same level of production that Chris Long gave the Eagles in 2017 and 2018. He’s a high character guy who would fit right into the Eagles locker room.
Jabaal Sheard, Indianapolis Colts: Another player with more career sacks than Clowney, Sheard intrigues me. He is the perfect middle-ground between Griffen and Clowney. He is younger than Griffen but only 3 years older than Clowney. He is an exciting player and offers plenty of juice coming off the edge. He’s not going to command top dollar on the FA market and he could stick around for 2-4 years while helping the Eagles transition from Brandon Graham without having to rely solely on the aforementioned Hall and Miller. Brandon Graham is entering year 2 of his 3 year deal that is likely to be his last in Philly. Sheard could play into his age-34 season in Philly without costing nearly as much as Clowney.
Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville Jaguars: Earlier this year, Yannick sent #EaglesTwitter into a frenzy with all of his IG posts. He all but guaranteed he was going to be an Eagle. The defunct Jaguars organization has gotten in the way of any possible trade to date, but if this happened, the Eagles would be a terror squad on that DL. Yannick, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Javon Hargrave, and Derek Barnett would be absolutely unstoppable. While Yannick would cost the Eagles a few draft picks and would command a big contract, his production, character, fit, and age would be worth the price and then some.
Ultimately, when it comes to the Eagles and Jadeveon Clowney, the risk is not worth the reward. With the Eagles upcoming salary cap issues, paying an overrated, minimally productive DE in Clowney just does not sound like a good football move. You could make the argument that a short team-friendly deal is worth the risk, but even then it does not move the needle as much as adding Yannick, Griffen, or Sheard would. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Adding the best possible players and fits to this team to help us get back to the Promised Land? #YanWatch continues.