Should the Detroit Lions trade for Jadeveon Clowney and make their defense a truly elite unit?
A debate I’ve seen going on between Detroit Lions fans the past few weeks is whether trading for Jadeveon Clowney would be a good move for the team. I’ll go over the reasons for and the reasons against trading for him, but either way, what’s not debatable is that Clowney is an elite player.
Tackles for loss
One of the strongest areas of Clowney’s game is stopping the run, he is a true elite run stopper in the NFL. He’s ranked top 10 for the past three years, being top two twice. Combine this with the Detroit Lions defensive front now consisting of Trey Flowers, Damon Harrison and Da’Shawn Hand that makes a unit that could be number 1 against the run in the NFL.
QB Pressures and Sacks
This is an area Detroit severely lacked last season, they ranked in the bottom five for QB pressures. This is another area where Clowney is dominant. I couldn’t find the exact figures but this does translate to good sack numbers. People saying he hasn’t got double-digit sack seasons are missing out the fact he has 9 and 9.5 sack seasons under his belt which means he knows how to get the QB, and knows how to do it consistently. He also does this whilst playing against the oppositions “usual” best lineman in their left tackle.
There’s no question Clowney wants to be paid, and rightfully so, but something he hasn’t had to deal with as much as would be expected is being the focal points of a team. Being opposite a first ballot HOFer in JJ Watt has meant he has gone under the radar quite a lot and might have something to prove if he moves to Detroit.
Firstly the statement that Clowney is injury-prone is something of a myth. While he isn’t the healthiest player and his knee surgery will probably play a big part in the future of his career, as of now, he has only missed six games in the last four years. For a D lineman/linebacker who plays as physically as he does, that is impressive. As always this can change in an instant but if the Detroit Lions do decide to make the trade you’ll be seeing him suit up on a regular basis.
This is probably the biggest one that will be brought up when talking about Clowney. He wants to be paid top edge rusher money whilst not producing the number of sacks that the top guys produce. I believe he is worth a big contract, let me get that across early, but I think a contract around the same value as Trey Flowers is more realistic as he’s a very similar level of player, elite but not top-tier elite. So dependent on what contract would be offered to Clowney could make a trade a bad deal for the Lions.
Have to take a guess here and gauge value looking at other trades that have happened so far this offseason. Would I trade the Lions first for Clowney? Talent-wise yes but throw the contract in with it definitely not. Now trading a second for him I would have to consider that and that might be the sort of value the Texans are after.
Now another option would be trading back with the Texans in the first (as well as some other picks traded but I couldn’t guess what they would be). The Lions have been rumored to be looking at a trade back and this could present a very good opportunity for them. Having the 23rd pick isn’t as high as I would like but players such as Greedy Williams, Noah Fant, Brian Burns might be some of the top options available around those spots depending on how the draft falls and I would be more than happy grabbing one of them up as well as Clowney.
Personally, I’d take a trade for Clowney, I believe he is a truly elite player with a point to prove being the main man in a team. I know Flowers is an elite player but Clowney has the name that will get him the attention in Detroit and he’ll have a chance to prove himself. The contract could be negotiated to hopefully be team friendly and with no huge re-signings coming up it makes sense to grab him now. However I would only trade for him if we could stay in the first round if they want a straight first, especially that being the 8th overall pick, then I’d stay clear.