NFL analyst raises red flags over Carolina Panthers free-agent addition

It was named among the worst moves of NFL free agency...
Jadeveon Clowney
Jadeveon Clowney / Robin Alam/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Signing Jadeveon Clowney represented a major coup by the Carolina Panthers - one that legitimized the project being put forward by general manager Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales. Playing closer to home and the two-year deal he received also factored heavily into his decision, but this could be a huge asset to the team's edge-rushing options.

Asking Clowney to be the explosive replacement for Brian Burns after he was traded to the New York Giants is a stretch. However, the former No. 1 overall selection is one of the league's best at setting the edge against the run. He also displayed improved prowess in pass-rushing situations on the Baltimore Ravens' stacked front seven

This acquisition was universally well-received by the fanbase, Unfortunately, some outside of Carolina's circle hold a different opinion.

Carolina Panthers signing Jadeveon Clowney given boom-or-bust potential

Ryan Fowler from The Bleacher Report named Clowney as one of the league's worst free-agent signings in 2024. This wasn't just a hot take - the writer put forth legitimate reasons why the move could blow up in Carolina's face.

"There's a ton of boom or bust coiled up in the frame of Jadeveon Clowney. At times, he can completely overwhelm opposing linemen. Other times, he disappears for weeks on end.

"While you could say Clowney is playing the best football of his career with 11 sacks in two of his last three campaigns, he'll take on a new role in Carolina where he's expected to lead a youth-infused group of pass-rushers behind him, something he's never done in his prior five stops. Although his deal won't break the bank, Clowney, 31, could end performing like a long-in-the-tooth pass-rusher."

Hopefully, the production Clowney displayed last season can continue within Ejiro Evero's creative 3-4 base scheme. The South Carolina native already looks more relaxed being closer to home. This added sense of security and family comfort could be exactly what's needed to maintain high standards and make everyone around him better.

The Panthers didn't have much to lose by signing Clowney. Their pass rush disintegrated almost to nothing after Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Frankie Luvu all departed the organization. Couple this with D.J. Wonnum - another free-agent arrival - currently recovering from a torn quad, and it's not hard to see why a move like this needed to be made.

Anyone expecting Clowney to attain double-digit sacks might be out of luck. It's a feat he's never achieved throughout a largely productive career, even if the player's never lived up to the generational hype coming out of college.

Expect the Panthers to identify another dynamic edge weapon at some stage during the 2024 NFL Draft. This looks almost guaranteed when one considers the lack of legitimate depth.

Relying on K'Lavon Chaisson, D.J. Johnson, or Amare Barno to pick up the slack if something happens to the projected starting outside linebacker tandem is asking for trouble. That said, Clowney will have more responsibilities than most considering his experience and the esteem in which he is held.

There's a good chance Clowney can get a couple more years of solid performance levels in Carolina. But as Fowler stated, there is also a chance this move goes wrong.

It's a fine line…