Heaps: Why the Seahawks are still Jadeveon Clowney’s top choice
Whether or not it’s the Seahawks who ultimately sign defensive end Jadeveon Clowney before the 2020 season begins, it appears that “Clowney Watch 2020” is about to come to an end according to multiple reports.
On Thursday, ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported that the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans were making strong pushes to get Clowney signed in the next few days so he can report to practice next week.
Clowney, who played for the Seahawks in 2019 after coming to Seattle from the Houston Texans for a third-round pick and two players, appeared in 13 games and had three sacks. He looked dominant at times, such as in a Week 10 overtime win over the then-undefeated San Francisco 49ers, but he suffered a core injury that week that caused him to miss three games and he wasn’t playing at 100% from that point on.
When Clowney came to Seattle, the team agreed not to place the franchise tag on him so he could test free agency. The Seahawks have reportedly made offers to Clowney, but he was initially seeking a long-term deal worth over $20 million per year. He has since lowered that asking price and will reportedly accept a one-year deal, but teams have, so far, been unwilling to meet his demands.
Clowney has been linked to the Seahawks, Titans, Saints and the Cleveland Browns, who reportedly offered him at least $17 million, but Clowney reportedly turned that down. Titans head coach Matt Vrabel, who coached Clowney in Houston, told reporters Friday that Tennessee has an offer extended to Clowney.
On Friday, Russini said that Clowney will likely make his decision after teams are through cutting rosters down to 53 players so teams have more money to spend on him.
I’m told Clowney has been advised to wait for cut day to wrap up this weekend, as teams involved, including others, could possibly have extra money to pay the free agent. Either way, its Clowney’s call.
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) September 4, 2020
Other reporters quickly turned to Clowney on Thursday, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport saying that the Seahawks were also monitoring the 27-year-old defensive end and former No. 1 overall pick.
The #Titans have also maintained interest in Jadeveon Clowney, with the #Seahawks monitoring. But the #Saints are pushing hard. Clowney would play right DE in an even front, on national TV more than he ever has been, with a chance to cash in for 2021 after a 1-year deal. https://t.co/RUbsdBKyey
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 3, 2020
Russini later reported that Clowney’s asking price was still too high for the Seahawks, and that the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have traded or released most of their better players as they conduct a rebuild, were also monitoring the situation.
Russini and most reporters have tabbed the Saints as the favorites to land Clowney as they appear to be the most aggressive in their pursuit of him, but is New Orleans ultimately the place Clowney would want to be?
Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy was asked if a return to the Seahawks was still Clowney’s top choice.
“I believe so,” he said Friday afternoon. “I believe when it all comes together, there has been frustration in terms of contract negotiations. I think when you look at Clowney and what he was hoping the Seahawks would be willing to do, the Seahawks were underwhelming in that regard.”
But Heaps doesn’t see those negotiations earlier in the offseason having too much of a negative impact on if the team tries to re-sign Clowney in the next few days. Heaps also said money shouldn’t be an issue, and that the team has pieces it desperately missed last year, which could entice Clowney to sign on.
“When push comes to shove, I think the Seahawks are going to be able to provide a similar contract to what anyone else is going to be able to offer,” he said. “And I think that you can look at this roster if you’re Clowney and see how it has been improved and how the group of guys that they have on defense can help him be a more effective and more dominant player, when you add the likes of (2019 All-Pro safety) Jamal Adams and you bring in other valid pass rushers like (edge rushers) Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin, that is going to help you because last year, he had no help.”
Listen to all Tom, Jake and Stacy podcasts here.