Are the Carolina Panthers asking too much of Jadeveon Clowney?

The veteran edge rusher has some significant responsibilities on his shoulders.
Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The need for additional pass-rushing assistance was glaring after the Carolina Panthers traded Brian Burns to the New York Giants. While the compensation was minimal considering the talent at his disposal, general manager Dan Morgan was backed into a corner by the previous regime's incompetence, leaving him with no option other than to accept whatever offer came to the table.

Couple this with the departures of Frankie Luvu and Yetur Gross-Matos in free agency, something had to be done looking at the options available. It's been a frantic recruitment period for Morgan, but landing high-profile veteran Jadeveon Clowney could go some way to filling the void.

Clowney decided this was the right time to return home, signing a two-year deal after a career campaign with the Baltimore Ravens in 2023. While he's approaching the twilight of his playing days, it seems as if the former No. 1 overall selection out of South Carolina still has a lot of good football left.

Carolina Panthers must ensure Jadeveon Clowney gets support

At the same time, Clowney's supporting cast wouldn't be classed as stellar by any stretch. D.J. Wonnum and K'Lavon Chaisson were also acquired in free agency, but the Panthers ignored some outstanding pass-rushers during the 2024 NFL Draft in favor of surrounding quarterback Bryce Young with everything needed to thrive.

Hopes are high that Clowney can build on last season's positive momentum, but there are no guarantees with the talent around him diminishing. This was a sentiment echoed by Joe Person of The Athletic, who stated that the veteran could be subject to extra attention from opposing protection schemes if those further down the depth chart don't make a bigger contribution.

"We’ll start with the good with [Jadeveon] Clowney: The veteran edge rusher signed a two-year, $20 million contract to play in the shadow of his Rock Hill, S.C., hometown after taking a one-year, prove-it deal with Baltimore in 2023. The bad? Barring a breakthrough season from D.J. Wonnum, DJ Johnson, K’Lavon Chaisson or someone else, the 31-year-old Clowney could be facing a lot of double-teams and chip blocks."

This is a worry, especially considering Wonnum is coming off a torn quad and won't have the room to operate he received playing opposite Danielle Hunter with the Minnesota Vikings. Clowney's never been an elite pass-rusher. He's dependable and can make plays, but his specialty centers on setting the edge and making things difficult on running downs.

If anyone can get a better tune out of Clowney, it's defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. However, he cannot do it alone.

The Panthers need one - or maybe several - of the younger edge players to step up. Evero is a master of doing more with less, but it'll take a monumental effort given how things stand right now. Something that piles exponential pressure on Clowney to be dominant and more importantly, remain healthy for the entire campaign.

Carolina is perhaps asking too much from Clowney. But this is the chance Morgan was willing to take after things became beyond broken with Burns, who remains highly regarded as one of the league's most explosive pass-rushing forces and should benefit greatly from the enhanced weapons around him on the Giants defensive front seven.

Spending substantial funds on finding a top-tier replacement was never an option after the Panthers allocated huge resources to the offensive line. Evero will have to make the best out of a less-than-ideal situation, but it won't take long for teams to hone in on Clowney as they did frequently with Burns if the supporting cast doesn't produce.