Seahawks’ Carroll on Clowney: ‘We’d love to have him be here’ in 2020
The NFL Draft is just over three months away, but more immediately is free agency.
The Seahawks have a few key needs, especially on defense, and their biggest offseason priority has to be keeping star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in Seattle for years to come.
Clowney was the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft after a stellar three-year collegiate run at South Carolina. He was drafted by the Houston Texans, who he played for until just before this season. He made it clear to the Texans that he was not going to go through offseason minicamp or preseason games without a new deal, however, and the team reportedly told him they wanted him to sign his contract tender so they could trade him to the Miami Dolphins.
Clowney reportedly told them he wouldn’t sign it to go to a rebuilding team but would if he were to go to a playoff-caliber team. So right before the regular season began, the Seahawks traded a third-round pick and players Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo for Clowney. The Texans also paid roughly half of his 2019 contract.
While Clowney’s statistics may not jump out on paper, he was a force when he was healthy and on the field. He was dominant in the run game and took games over a few times, namely Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers when he won NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
It was in Week 10 that Clowney suffered a core injury that limited him the rest of the way. He would miss three games with the injury and often didn’t practice due to it.
Clowney is now an unrestricted free agent and the team cannot use its franchise tag on him due to an agreement that was made when Seattle traded for him.
He will likely command a large contract – potentially more than $20 million per season – and should get that due to being just 26 years old and his ability to stop both the run and pass at a premium position.
The Seahawks are estimated to have more than $60 million in cap space, and releasing some players could open that up even more, so money won’t be a problem.
“Not specifically because there was no time and place, but that really is underway. Yeah, it’s happening,” Carroll said when asked about contract negotiations with the defensive end. “We’d love to have him be here.”
Clowney told NFL.com’s Michael Silver earlier this season how much fun he was having playing in Seattle.
“I’ve never been so confident. I feel like we’re going somewhere,” Clowney told Silver. “This is a special group. We’ve got good players at every position, and our quarterback is amazing.”
Clowney had just three sacks in the regular season, but he was especially effective in the playoffs. While the on-field performances have been great, Carroll said Clowney is a great person to have in the organization.
“What a great asset he is and he has such a great spirit about him,” Carroll said. “He loves the game so much. He loves winning and the challenges of it. He was an incredible teammate this year we had no idea who we were getting when we got him, but he exceeded all expectations and his juice and energy about it, his willingness to fight through the injury and all that stuff, he was battling the whole year.”
When asked about the defense’s struggles late this year, especially against Green Bay, Carroll said they didn’t do a good job forcing turnovers. He said guys like Clowney are players they need on the field at all times.
“It causes problems and disrupts the opponent,” Carroll said.
After the loss to the Packers, Clowney made it clear his priority is winning, not getting as big a payday as he can get.
“I want to get that Super Bowl, by any means,” Clowney said, per NBC Sports Northwest’s Joe Fann. “That’s what I’m looking for. Who’s going to get me there? I’m not looking to get on no sorry team for no money. That ain’t gonna fly.”
Per Fann, Clowney again reiterated how much he’s enjoyed his one season with the Seahawks.
“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “I met a great group of guys, and I appreciate everyone in this locker room. I didn’t know how it was going to go when I got to Seattle.”
If the Seahawks do re-sign Clowney, look for them to add more pass rushers in free agency and the draft. The team will have Rasheem Green, who led the team in sacks with four, back next year, but Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson are free agents and 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier struggled to even get on the field.
Defensive tackle Jarran Reed is also a free agent, and he struggled to replicate his 2018 success from a pass rush-perspective due in part to his six-game suspension to start the season.
Listen to Carroll talk about Clowney as well as other takeaways from Sunday’s game and the 2019 season at this link or in the player below at roughly the 22:20 mark.