Seahawks free agents: Will Hawks keep Clowney and Reed on D-line?
How can the Seahawks get back to a Super Bowl in 2020?
That’s the question Tom Wassell, Jake Heaps and I will be asking on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy over the next few months as we go through our Seahawks “offseason project” series, which will be broken up into four phases. The first phase of our series, which focuses only on Seahawks free agents, wrapped up last week with a look at defensive linemen Jarran Reed and Jadeveon Clowney.
You can hear every new segment of this series at 2 p.m. every day on Tom, Jake and Stacy. Here’s a look at what you need to know about Reed and Clowney and the chances of them returning to Seattle in 2020.
2019: 2.0 sacks, 10 solo tackles
Last contract: 4 years, $4.8M (rookie deal)
Reed, a 2016 second-round pick out of Alabama, had a career year in 2018. His 10.5 sacks and 24 quarterback hits were second only to edge rusher Frank Clark. He also led the team with 12 tackles for loss.
That same production last season would have left him tied with Jacksonville’s Josh Allen for second to Aaron Donald among all interior defensive linemen. Unfortunately, Reed tallied just a fraction of that total in 2019, in no small part due to a six-game suspension levied during the offseason. But even after making a return, Reed couldn’t contribute to the pass rush as much as he did last year. Seattle’s defensive line as a whole managed just 29 sacks, good for 29th overall.
Will Seattle bet on Reed returning to his 2018 form in 2020? Or will they let him walk in free agency? Spotrac gives the 27-year-old a calculated contract value of four years, $42.5 million (or, about $10.5 million per year). That salary would rank Reed around 10th among defensive tackles.
2019: 3.0 sacks, 1 interception, 1 touchdown, 13 quarterback hits
Last contract: Clowney carried a $15.9 million franchise tag in 2019. Prior to that, Houston opted to pick up the fifth-year option on his four year, $22 million rookie deal.
Clowney became the first No. 1 overall pick to play for the Seahawks when Seattle acquired him via trade in September, and when healthy he showed why he was such a coveted player. Despite registering just three sacks, he was the most disruptive presence on the defensive line. His best outing of the season came against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10 when he finished with five quarterback hits, a forced fumble, and a touchdown.
Knocks against Clowney would be health concerns – he underwent surgery for a core injury after the close of the season – and more consistency against the run as opposed to the pass. But those critiques are hardly enough to keep teams from trying to sign him to one of the league’s richest contracts this March. And it’s that price tag that could potentially prevent the Seahawks from keeping Clowney in Seattle in 2020. Spotrac estimates a deal for Clowney would cost upwards of $20 million per year. It’s within Seattle’s means; the team has nearly $60 million in cap space. But assigning a third of that total to Clowney would certainly limit any other potential free agent signings.