Sports

Jadeveon Clowney Comes Back To Carolina

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready… Former University of South Carolina superstar and No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney is returning to his former stomping grounds. Clowney, 31, of Rock Hill, S.C. signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers this week worth $20 million – including an…

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Former University of South Carolina superstar and No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney is returning to his former stomping grounds.

Clowney, 31, of Rock Hill, S.C. signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers this week worth $20 million – including an additional $4 million in performance-based incentives. Clowney – who grew up just south of Charlotte, N.C. – recorded 9.5 sacks last year while playing for the Baltimore Ravens. That tied his career high set in 2017 with the Houston Texans. Clowney has recorded 52.5 sacks over ten seasons with five different NFL teams.

The agreement is intended to bolster a Panthers’ pass defense that ranked dead last in the NFL in pressuring opposing quarterbacks – and which lost its top pass rusher earlier this month to a controversial trade.

Former Panthers’ defensive end Brian Burns was dealt to the New York Giants on March 13 for a second-round and fifth-round pick. Burns, 25, recorded 8 sacks in 2023 and had 46 total sacks during his five seasons with Carolina.

The deal was hugely unpopular with the team’s beleaguered fan base – and criticized by league analysts.

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“The Panthers’ failure to extract a single first-rounder in return for Burns was borderline malpractice,” NFL analyst Kevin Patra noted in giving the franchise a D- grade on the trade.

“You don’t ship out young, good pass rushers,” Patra added. “You pay them.”

Patra did give Carolina an A- grade on its acquisition of wide receiver Diontae Johnson from the Pittsburgh Steelers, however, a move which is expected to dramatically improve the performance of second-year quarterback Bryce Young. Carolina also dropped $153 million to lock down former Miami guard Robert Hunt for five years and former Seattle guard Damien Lewis for four years – moves intended to bolster Young’s protection and give the Panthers a more robust rushing attack.

The moves are part of another major offseason rebuild orchestrated by the team’s thin-skinned, micromanaging owner – billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper. The latest reinvention of the franchies involves a new coaching staff, new front office management and … obviously … new players.

Will it work?

Since Tepper purchased the Panthers in 2018, the team has posted an absolutely abysmal 31-68 (.313) record – failing to reach the playoffs or secure a winning season. Conversely, in the five years prior to Tepper buying the team, the Panthers went 54-32-1 (.621) – reaching the playoffs four times and making it to Super Bowl 50.

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During his tenure, Tepper has fired three coaches, run off the best player in the league in Christian McCaffrey, alienated half of his team’s fan base in the Carolinas and mortgaged the franchise’s future to draft Young – leaving new head coach Dave Canales with a shortage of leadership, offensive weapons, goodwill and draft picks.

He’s also repeatedly shown his ass.

Tepper agreed to move the Panthers’ corporate headquarters (and practice facility) to Rock Hill in 2019, a deal hailed as the signature economic development of S.C. governor Henry McMaster. The agreement collapsed, however, and in 2022 Tepper’s holding company filed for bankruptcy in Delaware.

Our media outlet opposed that deal from the beginning.

“This is a bad deal. Period,” I wrote in March of 2019. “South Carolina should pass on the Panthers … and tell Tepper that while he is welcome to locate in the Palmetto State, he is not going to get paid to bring (his team) here.”

Incidentally, there is still an ongoing criminal investigation into this botched “economic development” debacle. As for the complex itself, it was demolished last year – leaving a vacant 245-acre lot and a bunch of angry local politicians and developers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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2 comments

CongareeCatfish Top fan March 29, 2024 at 10:16 am

Wow, just the fact that J.C. has lasted for 10 years as a starter at his position is pretty remarkable – the physical punishment for linebackers is severe; he’s lasted over twice the average length of career for that position. Freak of nature!

Reply
Squishy123 (the original) March 29, 2024 at 5:51 pm

That’s because he’s lazy and spent much of his time standing on the sidelines because his finger hurt. He’ll go down in football history for two things, first the hit on the Michigan player, and for being a first pick bust.

Reply

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