Jadeveon Clowney's bullish claim should thrill Carolina Panthers fans

The veteran edge rusher is confident better days are ahead.

Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney's bullish claim surrounding the Carolina Panthers' chances for progression in 2024 should thrill their long-suffering fans.

The promise of extra financial security and returning home were the reasons behind Jadeveon Clowney's decision to join the Carolina Panthers in free agency. But make no mistake, the veteran edge rusher hasn't arrived to just pick up another paycheck.

Clowney spurned advances from the New York Jets to sign with Carolina. One could make a strong case for Robert Saleh's men being in a better position to immediately contend once quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns, so the player must have been completely convinced by the proposals outlined by Dan Morgan, Dave Canales, and Ejiro Evero.

Jadeveon Clowney believes in the Carolina Panthers

This is something Clowney confirmed during his introductory presser via CBS Sports. The former No. 1 overall selection seems especially bullish about the Panthers' fortunes, even claiming they weren't without a chance in the NFC South if everything goes well.

"I said I just need one opportunity to show these people I still can do this at a high level and I'm not the guy they make me out to be. That's all I wanted to do that whole offseason, prove that to people. I think we can turn this thing around and have some fun here. I'm looking for something great for this upcoming season. The division [NFC South] was tight last year regardless of what people say. It's no reason to think the Panthers can't come out on top of the division this year and make the playoffs."

Jadeveon Clowney via CBS Sports

Canales offered a similar sentiment at the NFL owners' meetings, so there is a quiet level of confidence within the organization that they can emerge into a potential surprise package in 2024. Considering the division isn't seen as the strongest either, Clowney and the Panthers are right to aim high.

This newfound ambition should thrill fans, but they should approach Carolina's outlook next season with cautious optimism. After all, it was just a year ago when previous general manager Scott Fitterer made delusions of grandeur about dropping in a quarterback and taking off. What followed became one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

Nobody is going to be doom and gloom at this time of year. While Clowney wanted to be near his family, the edge presence wasn't going to join a team that harbored no prospects whatsoever. He doesn't have many years left - making the most of them will be at the forefront of his mind.

The South Carolina product and Rock Hill native signing on the dotted line legitimizes Carolina's plans under their new power structure. He's confident the personnel available can make the improvements needed. Although if we're being honest, the bar isn't exactly high in that regard after a 2023 campaign that is best forgotten.

Nobody is holding out much hope for the Panthers next season, at least outside the building. Dan Morgan is planning for the future. At the same time, he is striving to ensure the right pieces are in place for short-term strides and, more importantly, quarterback Bryce Young gets a legitimate opportunity to flourish.

Clowney is the biggest name to arrive so far. But for his bold claims to become reality, it must be a collective effort from top to bottom.