Between installing an almost entirely new coaching staff, taking an aggressive trip through free agency and trading up to the No. 1 overall draft position for a franchise quarterback, the Carolina Panthers have made a bevy of moves this calendar year. But is there room for one more?
Pro Football Focus salary cap analyst Brad Spielberger thinks there is.
This past week, Spielberger named one last move every team should make in wrapping up the offseason. When it comes to the Panthers, he writes that a homecoming for a local product in Jadeveon Clowney may benefit all involved.
The Panthers added Oregon edge defender DJ Johnson in the third round and have a few other young pieces on the roster, but if they want this loaded defense to truly be among the league’s best, they can’t have a potential weak link on the line opposite Brian Burns.
Clowney is coming off a down year in the pass-rushing department, totaling only 29 pressures and two sacks, but a change of scenery could allow him to thrive again, similar to what happened in his first year in Cleveland. Clowney is one of the best run-defending edges in the NFL over the past decade and should benefit from having a lot of talent around him.
The Rock Hill, S.C. native and former No. 1 overall pick stacked just 2.0 sacks over 12 games in 2022. He’s also five seasons removed from a career-high 9.5 takedowns, which he amassed as a 24-year-old back in 2017.
Now, at 30 years old, Clowney could still help set the edge for Carolina and their new 3-4 base defense. While those sacks were down, that aforementioned run defense was up—as PFF graded him out at a 74.3 against opposing ground attacks, his highest such mark since 2019.
But is that a potential payoff general manager Scott Fitterer and the pass rush-needy Panthers are looking for?