Huard: Why the Seahawks could make Clowney the highest-paid defensive player
One of the Seahawks’ best players in 2019, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, is now one of the top free agents in all of football. Heck, he may be seen as the best free agent in the NFL.
Despite never recording double digit sacks in a season in his five-year NFL career, Clowney has been productive rushing the passer and creating pressures and is seen as one of the better run defending defensive ends in all of football.
Because of his play, his status as a former No. 1 pick and his age – he turned 27 last week – it is expected he will demand a hefty sum in the upcoming free agency period.
Acording to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, Clowney wants to sign a “market-setting contract.” Per Spotrac, Chicago Bears defensive end/outside linebacker Khalil Mack makes the most annually for any defensive player in NFL history at $23.5 million.
Gonna be a fun offseason 🤑 pic.twitter.com/dP92kH1IHi
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) February 16, 2020
After the season ended, Clowney said he wanted to play for a team that will win rather than just taking a big deal, but if Miller’s report is accurate, the amount of teams who are legit suitors for Clowney likely widens.
If Clowney is indeed looking to become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, should the Seahawks still try to bring him back? Brock Huard joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Tuesday morning on Blue 42 and said Seattle should make it happen.
“I would, because I think you can be creative in doing so,” Huard said.
The Seahawks have over $51 million in cap space per OverTheCap.com and they also have some veterans who could be cut for cap purposes such as linebacker K.J. Wright, center Justin Britt and safety Bradley McDougald. During last week’s Brock and Salk Podcast, Huard said the Seahawks should probably cut Wright and McDougald to have more money to spend on retooling a defense that was one of the worst in the NFL last year.
“There are ways to wiggle around (your cap number),” Huard said. “There are ways to move those numbers around, there are ways when you have an ownership group like the Seahawks and Jodi Allen taking over for Paul (Allen) that have cash on hand and have a state with no income tax … I do think they can do that and it will, in some way, look like the biggest deal ever done for a defensive player and the proof will be in the pudding and the details will come out.
“They’ll be able to give him lots of cash because they have cash on hand and will still be able to structure it in a way that they can get the rest of their work done.”
Getting Clowney back would be a big get, but Seattle will also need more defensive linemen to help get after the quarterback and could also use help in the secondary as well as the offensive line, namely right tackle.
Right tackle Germain Ifedi is a free agent and based on Arizona Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries getting a three-year, $45 million deal done with Arizona, Huard thinks Ifedi will get big money elsewhere and Seattle will look for right tackle help in another way.
“No one was celebrating more than Germain Ifedi last night,” Huard said of when Humphries’ contract details were reported.
If Seattle pays Clowney record-setting money, it would hinder the rest of their free agency to a degree, but not in too drastic a way.
“I think you start to limit whether you’re going to get another $15 million-plus or $12 million-plus guy (and) you’re probably going to be filling in the rest of free agency with $10 million guys,” Huard told Paul Gallant when asked whether a Clowney deal would seriously alter what Seattle does in free agency.
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