Jadeveon Clowney coup instantly legitimizes Carolina Panthers plans

The Carolina Panthers pulled off a major coup

Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney's decision to join the Carolina Panthers instantly legitimizes their ambitious plans under new general manager Dan Morgan.

Well, what a turn-up for the books.

In a bombshell move, Jadeveon Clowney spurned offers from elsewhere to join the Carolina Panthers on a two-year deal. This instantly legitimizes the plans being laid out by general manager Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales.

It seemed for all the smart money as if Clowney was going to the New York Jets. They look in a better spot to make postseason noise once veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers gets back from injury. They remained in close contact with the player following their meeting. But the Panthers made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Carolina Panthers make statement with Jadeveon Clowney signing

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Panthers are giving Clowney $20 million which could be worth $24 million with incentives over his two seasons with the franchise. The former No. 1 overall selection might not have reached the generational hype coming out of college, but he played the best football of his professional career with the Baltimore Ravens last season and represents an immediate upgrade on anything Carolina has in its edge rushing room.

Clowney immediately becomes the Panthers' best edge threat after they traded Brian Burns to the New York Giants. He's a marquee arrival who's no stranger to the area, hailing from Rock Hill and starring for the South Carolina Gamecocks in college. Being closer to home at this stage means a lot, but Morgan also deserves a ton of credit for pursuing this with urgency and conviction in equal measure.

The three-time Pro Bowler was nothing short of sensational for the Ravens in 2023, gaining 9.5 sacks and becoming one of the league's best at setting the edge on running downs. He was a constant menace in opposing backfields and is exactly what the Panthers are looking for with Burns, Frankie Luvu, and Yetur Gross-Matos no longer around.

Much more is needed, but Morgan is implementing his strategy with supreme efficiency up to now. Some fans haven't liked every decision, but he's planning for the future while also ensuring Canales has the tools needed to make immediate improvements. Clowney's decision to join the ranks further cements this fact.

Clowney's arrival made the entire league stop and look at the Panthers a little differently, even if it was just for a short while. More importantly, it's got the fanbase believing better days are ahead with competent decision-makers and a legitimate plan for gradual progression.

Many thought Clowney - like Mike Williams - could have been using the Panthers to get a better deal elsewhere. He wouldn't have been the first in that regard, but this changed narrative could be the catalyst behind others also examining Carolina's advances in greater detail.

Specifically, cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The Panthers have reportedly reached out to Gilmore about returning for a second spell with the franchise. While there are some bridges to rebuild after how things unfolded in 2022, the incompetent people in charge at the time aren't around. Morgan, Canales, and defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero seem to be selling the project well, so this could be more likely than some originally envisaged.

It's an exciting time to be a Panthers fan. Hopefully, this new regime will have more substance attached when the real action begins.