Acquiring the Houston Texans stud free agent would make the Arizona Cardinals defense a force to be reckoned with in 2019
There’s been a lot of talk centering around what the Arizona Cardinals will do with the first-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Most prognosticators have the club’s front office taking Ohio State’s Nick Bosa with the prized selection. However, the Cards may not have to wait until late April to add a stud edge-rusher to their defense.
Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is scheduled to become a free agent when the league year commences on March 13th. The Houston Texans’ star would be an excellent addition to the Cardinals, and is easily one of the best defenders preparing to test the market. The hiring of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph means a transition back to a 3-4 alignment, a scheme that Clowney just happened to thrive in with the Texans.
Clowney was drafted first-overall by Houston back in 2014, and has become a dominating force on the field. The 6’5, 265 pounder rebounded nicely after an injury-riddled rookie campaign. Since 2015, Clowney has totalled 198 tackles, 29 sacks, 67 quarterback hits, 64 tackles for loss and 11 pass breakups.
Of course, as is the case with any prospective free agent, the possibility of the franchise tag exists. The Texans have not yet revealed whether they’ll designate Clowney as their franchise player or not. NFL rules state that they have until March 5th to decide.
If acquired, Clowney would line up at the outside linebacker spot opposite Chandler Jones, the spot where Bosa would play if drafted. Arizona has been talking to Markus Golden, the incumbent starter at the position who’s also a free agent, about returning to the team. Management did add former Atlanta Falcon Brooks Reed back on February 9th, but the veteran would be a better depth option than starter at this point of his career.
Signing Clowney would almost certainly result in the Cards passing on Bosa, and the drafting of sensational Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, instead. That scenario would result in a Cardinals defense consisting of Jones, Clowney, Williams, Patrick Peterson and Budda Baker. Somewhere, new coordinator Joseph has to be jumping for joy at the very thought of that.