Everybody knows that the Baltimore Ravens are in the market for a pass rusher. After losing Calais Campbell and Justin Houston this offseason, the Flock needs to strengthen the position to put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks ahead of the 2023 campaign.
A few weeks ago, before the start of training camp, the Ravens hosted former Los Angeles Chargers OLB Kyle Van Noy. Just last Tuesday, Baltimore hosted former no. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney for a visit and reportedly offered him a contract he has been "taking some time to think through."
Then, on Sunday, news emerged that Clowney had scheduled a visit to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
The first-overall pick of the 2014 draft spent the hours following his visit to the Ravens camp in Baltimore. That led some pundits and fans to believe a deal was close being agreed between both parties. Turns out that's not the case.
The news of Clowney visiting Jacksonville, even though he left the building without a contract (per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network), are quite ominous for Baltimore's hopes of landing the veteran edge rusher.
Clowney has flirted with the Ravens for the past couple of years but both offseasons he ended up inking one-year pacts with the Cleveland Browns, his most-recent NFL team.
This visit to the Jaguars brings a rather simple question to ponder at this point following the last week of events: is Clowney simply using Baltimore to gain some negotiating leverage in his business with the Ravens and/or any other franchise interested in his services?
With Baltimore having a glaring lack of depth in the outside linebacker position, Clowney might be putting the Ravens back against the wall here.
He might simply be telling the Ravens to pay him what he wants if they're so desperate to add a talented pass rusher, or just lose him forever to another team and keep the EDGE rotation shallow if they wish so.
That strategy, of course, also applies to the Jaguars as Clowney could have used the Ravens to tell Jacksonville that in a desperate move, Baltimore is willing to overpay for him, so the only way the Jags can snatch his signature from ending up in a contract emblazoned with the Ravens colors is by raising their bid themselves.
The Jaguars are the favorites in the event of a bidding war, though. Jacksonville has a little over $18 million of cap space available compared to Baltimore's $8.7 million room, per Over The Cap.
If the Ravens miss out on landing Clowney for the third consecutive offseason, they should instantly move on and try to sign Van Noy from the free agent market before it's too late and he also bolts away and inks a deal anywhere else.