With the start of free agency just 10 days away, silly season with rumors and speculation regarding potential fits for teams and players is ratcheting up.
Pro Football Focus' Seth Galina appears to be leading that charge heading into the start of the new league year and free agency on March 17. On Friday, Galina put together an article for PFF listing a perfect free-agent match for all 32 teams.
While some of the fits weren't necessarily a surprise, Galina's perfect fit for the Indianapolis Colts was a bit of a head-scratcher. Galina paired Indianapolis with veteran defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in his free agency primer.
"Clowney fits perfectly in the Colts' two-high structure on defense because he can be a one-man wrecking crew against the run, and allow the Colts to continue to live with a down safety in the box. Clowney's grade has continued to drop in recent years, but he's still not even 30 years old yet. He's only two seasons removed from earning a career-high PFF grade of 87.2, so a bounce-back year is not entirely out of the question."
Galina is right in that a bounce-back year is not entirely out of the question, but his PFF grades have dropped seemingly every year since at least 2016.
Clowney did put up a great year in 2018 in Houston, but he was a disappointment in 2019 in Seattle, and his 2020 left much to be desired in Tennessee. Last season, he posted his lowest pass rush grade since 2016 and his lowest run defense grade of his career. Granted, Clowney played in just 10 games due to injuries, but that's another red flag with the former No. 1 overall pick.
It's a stretch to call Clowney a one-man wrecking crew at this point in his career. While he is a fine run defender, he has lost a step as a pass rusher. In fact, his total pressures have declined every year since registering 64 total pressures in 2017. Since then, Clowney has registered pressure totals of 63, 58, and 28 respectively.
Considering Clowney will likely get at least $8 million per year in a wide open free agency market, Chris Ballard and the Colts would be wise to avoid the declining, injury prone 28-year-old and go bargain shopping at the position for the time being.