John Froschauer/Associated Press
Nearly two weeks into the NFL’s free-agency period, Jadeveon Clowney remains on the market. He was one of the best available pass-rushers heading into the offseason, yet he doesn’t have a team for 2020.
And that may not change in the near future, either.
According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, there is a “growing thought around the league” that Clowney won’t be signing anytime soon and that he could even wait until training camp to ink a deal. The main reason for that appears to be financial because Clowney appears to have not gotten an offer as high as he would have liked.
Clowney has been seeking a multiyear deal that pays him $20 million per season, per Condotta. One concern for teams has likely been Clowney’s injury history, as he’s had some trouble staying healthy in the past. In January, he underwent surgery for a core injury. And teams can’t hold in-person visits with free agents because of the coronavirus pandemic, so they could be hesitant to make a commitment to Clowney.
“The restrictions keep him from teams being able to look into him physically,” ESPN insider Jeff Darlington said (h/t Brad Crawford of 247Sports). “I really think he’ll just wind up going back to Seattle for a year, maybe a one-year deal, proves himself and comes back into free agency next year.”
That may not be a bad thing for Clowney, and it could benefit the Seattle Seahawks.
If Clowney can play a complete season and put up some impressive numbers while doing so, then he would likely have a better chance of landing a multiyear deal at his price point either next offseason or the year after. Last year, Clowney was traded from the Houston Texans to the Seahawks just before the start of the regular season, and then he had only three sacks in 13 games.
However, Clowney still made an impact. He was often blocked by multiple opposing offensive linemen, so that limited his ability to get to the quarterback. But he had a career-high four forced fumbles, notched the first interception of his career and scored a pair of touchdowns.
The Seahawks have already improved their defensive line this offseason by signing veteran defensive end Bruce Irvin, who began his NFL career in Seattle, playing there from 2012 to 2015. If they bring back Clowney, their pass rush could be one of their strengths in 2020.
It’s possible that Seattle is also considering signing free-agent defensive end Everson Griffen, as Gregg Bell of The News Tribune recently pointed out. That could happen regardless of whether it brings back Clowney.
Griffen is likely to sign quicker than Clowney, though, based on the way the market is developing. But there’s a strong chance this could work out well for the Seahawks, even if they have to wait awhile for Clowney to sign.