Jadeveon Clowney has decided to move on from Seattle, and test the waters of free agency. It seems like his potential suitors are starting to dwindle.
Jadeveon Clowney is the last big name free agent still available on the market (other than maybe Antonio Brown, who just heard he is facing a 8 game suspension upon his return to the league, not to mention boatloads of other baggage that he comes with.) Clowney is a 3 time pro-bowler, and has racked up 32 sacks and 80 QB hits, which is pretty solid at only 27 years of age. But was the star asking for too much money on the free agent market, turning potential suitors off from his services? ESPN’s Diana Russini stated that Clowney had dropped his asking price from $20 million a season to $17-18 million, which is still no bargain for a pass rusher who is better at stopping the run than he is pass rushing. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Clowney could also be considering “shorter-term deals,” maybe looking to bet on himself and let his play do the talking in order to secure the long term deal he seems to have his heart set on. Clowney has also had somewhat of a reputation of taking plays off, going back to his college days at South Carolina. This could hurt him in the long and short term, as players who get paid like Clowney is wanting to need to be in the middle of things every down of every game. There were a myriad of spots where Clowney was projected to land at the beginning of the offseason, but as we grow closer to the upcoming season, those teams are starting to dwindle.
There was a reported interest from the Cleveland Browns, to put together an all-pro D Line with him playing across from young star Myles Garrett. But with Garrett signing a 5 year, $125 million contract, he may have just taken any money that would have been leftover to sign Clowney. This signing likely priced the Browns out of competition for Clowney with the salary cap. Another team who was reported to be interested was the Tennessee Titans, until they came to terms on new deals for the faces of their offense in Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, who signed 4 year $118 million and 4 year $50 million dollar deals respectively this offseason. Head coach Mike Vrabel seems to be fed up with the questions about Clowney, repeating to reporters that Clowney is not under contract with the Titans, so he can’t say much. And with the salary cap going down next year due to COVID losses, these teams will be squeezed even tighter to fit these new deals in. Is this a sign for Clowney? Did his contract just come up during the wrong offseason, when teams are bracing for the impact of a reduced salary cap next season, or was he simply asking for an out of this world deal that turned teams away? It appears to be a combination of the two working against him in unison.
So where could Clowney still find a spot in the NFL? Well there are still a few teams interested in his services. The Indianapolis Colts are one of his suitors, and with the signing of Philip Rivers, they know that their window of time to get to a Super Bowl is now. They already have a solid front 7 with Darius Leonard and Deforest Buckner leading the way, and Clowney would line up opposite former Chiefs standout Justin Houston. They would have to figure out the finances in Indy as well, with Buckner taking up $21 million a year on the defensive side of the ball already. Clowney could also stay in Seattle, where he was all of 2019. The Seahawks seem to be moving forward as if Clowney isn’t in their plans however, adding numerous players to their front 7 in order to create more pressure on opposing QBs. Seattle Gm John Schneider told ESPN reporter Brady Henderson that he wouldn’t rule out a return for Clowney, although their offer early in the offseason wasn’t apparently in Clowney’s ballpark.
It seems that everyone of Clowney’s potential suitors has already promised lengthy and expensive contracts to other people, causing his landing spots to thin exponentially. Bad timing and demanding a contract that he may not have been ready for seem to have doomed his chances of finding a squad before training camp.