The door might still be open for Jadeveon Clowney to return to the Tennessee Titans.
A league source with knowledge of the situation indicated that Clowney is “definitely open” to a return to Tennessee in 2021.
Clowney, who signed a one-year, $12 million contract with the Titans just before the start of the regular season, but had his season cut short after eight games due to a knee injury that required surgery.
Clowney is likely to explore the free agent market when his contract expires in March, but the Titans apparently remain an option to re-sign him.
Clowney had no sacks in those eight games with the Titans, but finished with six quarterback hits, four passes defensed and 19 total tackles.
The Titans desperately need help at outside linebacker and with their pass rush. Tennessee produced just 19 sacks all season.
Clowney came to the Titans from Seattle, but had his best years with the Houston Texans when current Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was his position coach and then his defensive coordinator.
There are two factors at work in whether or not Clowney could return to Tennessee. First off, would be his asking price, which is likely to be much less than last year due to his injury situation and coming off a down season. The NFL salary cap is also expected to dip in 2021 due to lost revenues this season because of the pandemic.
The other issue is Clowney’s health as he has had knee problems in the past, and the Titans or any other team that signed him would want assurances that the veteran pass rusher is healthy again. Clowney missed the Titans’ Nov. 8 game against the Chicago Bears with the knee injury, then returned to play against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 12 before being shut down for the season and undergoing surgery. The Titans placed him on injured reserve.
Clowney, the first overall pick by the Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft, turns 28 on Feb. 14.