Ravens must step up Jadeveon Clowney interest with Jets "motivated" to sign him

The Ravens need to bring Clowney back.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens may have lost some big names in free agency, as Geno Stone and Patrick Queen are now suiting up with division rivals, but perhaps no free agent on the defensive side of the ball would be more of a loss than edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney. The former No. 1 overall pick was a game-changer last year.

Clowney recorded 9.5 sacks, tied for the most in a career that includes three Pro Bowls and an All-Pro selection, with a very impressive pressure rate. With the inconsistent Odafe Oweh and the perpetually injured David Ojabo slated to start, Clowney is a clear upgrade over those two.

The Carolina Panthers have some money to burn as they try to sign the South Carolina native, but the New York Jets have been hovering around the Clowney camp after losing Bryce Huff to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. The Jets might be Baltimore's strongest competition for Clowney's services.

According to Jordan Schultz, the Jets and Clowney remain "in constant contact" after their initial talks, with New York being described as "highly motivated" to sign him. The Ravens need to come prepared with a strong offer to avoid losing him to another AFC contender.

Ravens must beat out "highly motivated" Jets in Jadeveon Clowney chase

While Clowney's pass rush skills alone makes him a worthwhile addition, his run defense remains elite for a defensive end his size. Justin Madubuike might be back long-term, but the Ravens can't count on him alone to make up for what quickly became a very thin depth chart.

The Ravens could use one of their top picks in the 2024 NFL Draft on a pass rusher, but adding an edge might have been a worthwhile move with Clowney in the fold. Oweh has shown flashes of greatness, but nowhere near consistently enough. Ojabo is a complete wild card, and Kyle Van Noy is also a free agent.

Not only would the Ravens lose a star defender who knows the system, but he would be joining an AFC contender who already had one of the best defenses in football. Clowney, Pro Bowl edge rusher Jermaine Johnson, and 2023 first-rounder Will McDonald could be a headache for any team, Baltimore included.

The Ravens typically wait later than most teams to step on the gas in free agency, and Clowney is the king of dragging contract situations out into the summer. This may not be resolved soon, but the Ravens need to make sure their offer ends up beating out what the Jets put together if they want to keep last year's pass rush together.