The Raiders have a pair of young defensive ends they believe have bright futures. Rookies Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell had flashes of brilliance in 2019 and could be even better in 2020.
But the franchise wants to continue to improve its pass rush. So, combine that desire with some good space under the salary cap and coach Jon Gruden’s boldness in pursuing high-impact veteran free agents, and you get a scenario in which some analysts are speculating that Jadevon Clowney could be a Raider next season.
Clowney played for the Seahawks this season after being traded by the Texans and again was a dominant defensive end. He had a low sack total (just three) but provided consistent pressure, forced four fumbles, had 31 tackles and an interception and now heads into free agency. He was a star against the run.
The former No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft had 24.5 sacks for the Texans from 2016-2018 when he was selected to the Pro Bowl each season.
Marcus Mosher of USA Today’s Raiders Wire suggests Clowney might be a perfect signing target for the Raiders, whom he believes will be “aggressive in free agency.”
The analytic website Pro Football Focus grades Clowney as the top edge rusher available in free agency.
Wrote PFF: “Clowney has the 11th-best overall grade among all edge defenders since 2017, including the third-best mark against the run (91.3), but his pass-rush grade of 83.9 ranks just 25th among that same group. Pass rushers earn massive contracts for their ability to get to the quarterback, but Clowney has always been good, not great, in that department.
“The price tag may be too high for many teams, but Clowney brings top run defense and solid pass-rush to the table.”
The Raiders, according to the website Overthecap.com, are in the ninth-best position among NFL teams going into free agency, with about $57 million available to spend under the salary cap.