NFL Free Agency, Oakland Raiders

Raiders should go all in and sign Jadeveon Clowney to make a playoff push

Jadeveon Clowney would look really good in Silver and Black, wouldn’t he?

The Las Vegas Raiders are looking to make some noise in the AFC West this year and they can make a lot of it by signing Jadeveon Clowney.

Before fading down the stretch, the Silver and Black had the look of a playoff team in what was their final season in Oakland. Now that they’ve left California for Nevada, the Raiders must make a big splash by signing one of the last remaining marquee free agents.

Clowney was the former No. 1 overall pick out of the University of South Carolina by the Houston Texans back in 2014. He spent his first five NFL seasons on the Gulf Coast, becoming a three-time Pro Bowler for Texas’ AFC franchise. Clowney spent last season in relative obscurity up in the Pacific Northwest with the Seattle Seahawks. Could he rebound with the Raiders in 2020?

The Raiders are in a three-team cluster in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers, looking up at the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and wondering where they fit into the new AFC now that Tom Brady took his talents to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Any team in the AFC West can make the playoffs this year, but will it be the Raiders?

Does Jadeveon Clowney make the Raiders a playoff team?

With an expanded playoff field in both conferences, a middle-of-the-pack team like the Raiders can take advantage of the new postseason situation by really honing in on their identity. What do the Raiders do well under head coach Jon Gruden? They run the ball effectively with Josh Jacobs and they get after the quarterback with Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. You can win with this.

While Jacobs is expected to be the bell-cow in Las Vegas for the foreseeable future, you can never have too many good pass rushers. Though Clowney will never be a 10-sack guy like his draft classmate Khalil Mack was for the Silver and Black a few years ago, he can come in and make the defensive line even more menacing for the contending Raiders.

By putting pressure on young quarterbacks in the division like Drew Lock and rookie Justin Herbert, the Raiders can assert their dominance and claim second place for themselves in the tough AFC West. Second place isn’t usually something to brag about, but when you’re looking up at Kansas City, you take what you can get. A second-place finish likely means a playoff berth.

Clowney and his representation have played the long game in his free agency. While the Cleveland Browns looked to be the front-runner to land him, it doesn’t seem like he’s heading to Northeast Ohio, now matter how much money the Browns were willing to pay him. It also doesn’t seem like Clowney is gearing up for another year in the Pacific Northwest with the Seahawks either.

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Adding Clowney to what is already an emerging pass rush in Las Vegas will only serve the Raiders as the season progresses. While the quarterbacking situation between the incumbent Derek Carr and the newcomer Marcus Mariota will eventually sort itself out, the Raiders will make the playoffs if they can run the football and drive the opposing quarterback into the turf repeatedly.

What are you waiting for, Raiders? Go get Clowney and become a playoff team this season!

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