The team was loosely connected to Clowney earlier in the offseason, and they have the sort of cap space to make a one-year deal work ($23m).
That money is likely earmarked for 2021, where they need it supplement for the lack of salary available for next year, but if Clowney’s market continues to falter then the Eagles will strongly consider bringing him in on a one-year deal. He should be more affordable than he was earlier in the offseason, and the Eagles defense could use a blue-chip pass rusher on the edge.
The defensive line figures to be elite against the run after the addition of Hargrave, but I’m not entirely sure where the juice in our pass rush is going to come from. While last year’s team was able to get to the quarterback at a solid overall rate (4th in NFL), there were obvious lapses at times that had a trickle down effect on the rest of the defense. Getting pressure with only the front-four is the key to Schwartz’s defense, and our ability to do that was somewhat inconsistent in 2019.
Clowney would immediately become our best pass rusher, and his presence would make our defensive line the best in football—that’s not debatable. Any bruised feelings over how he knocked Wentz out of last year’s playoffs are getting more pathetic by the moment. Howie has signed scumbags in the past, and he’ll do it again if he thinks it can help his football team—Clowney is a clear missing piece.
Sometimes Clowney’s ability is doubted as it relates to other elite edge rushers, but his name definitely belongs in the same class—his 24% pass rush win-rate last year was seventh in the NFL, right behind the likes of Shaq Barrett and Joey Bosa.
I find it a little interesting that Eagles fans would’ve traded a high-pick and shelled out a multi-year mega-deal to the slightly above-average Yannick Ngakoue, then they get all aggressive when it comes to someone like Clowney—a player who can be had for much cheaper, and who will actually be a star on defense.
Obviously these are just rumors, but the fact that the Eagles are credibly linked to Clowney keeps hope alive that Howie isn’t finished upgrading the defense for 2020.
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