Panthers could be in play for DE Jadeveon Clowney

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Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson recently made it clear that he didn’t want a particular Cleveland Browns player on his team. So, how about this one . . . ?

While answering reader questions in his most recent mailbag feature for Sports Illustrated, MMQB’s Albert Breer came across an inquiry (or two) on free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. One curious customer—presumably a Browns fan—asked when Clowney will be signing with Cleveland, and the other—presumably a Panthers fan—asked when he’d be signing with Carolina.

To that, Breer had an intriguing reply:

“The Browns have been pretty confident that they’d get Jadeveon Clowney back, with the one caveat being that if a team in the South near where the South Carolina native grew up came calling, that could blow things up,” he wrote. “So yeah, the Browns are in play and the Panthers probably would be too if they show real interest.”

Clowney, a Rock Hill, S.C. native, played his college ball at the University of South Carolina. And although owner David Tepper and the Panthers aren’t exactly on the greatest of terms with the 29-year-old’s hometown at the moment, Charlotte ain’t too far away from Clowney’s roots.

Breer also notes that such a signing, given where we are in the offseason, would be particularly enticing for any potentially interested clubs.

“It’s also, worth mentioning that now that we’re past May 2, teams don’t have to worry about a signing like Clowney’s counting against them in the comp-pick formula,” he added. “That really does matter for some GMs, and it’s often why older free agents wait until this point in the calendar to sign—because a more robust market of contenders can emerge. We’ll see if that happens for Clowney.”

Plus, on top of being local, the Panthers could have the edge when it comes to cash. As of now, Carolina and Cleveland have the most cap space in the NFL—with the former on top at approximately $30.1 million and the latter around $27.9 million.

Clowney, no doubt, could be a welcomed addition to a defense that just lost its leading sack-getter from a year ago. The three-time Pro Bowler is fresh off a 2021 campaign where he totaled 9.0 sacks, 19 quarterback hits and 11 tackles for a loss over 14 outings.

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