Heaps: If Clowney walks, the Seahawks should target these 3 players
As the offseason continues on for the Seahawks, all eyes will be on how they address the pass rush, which was among the worst in football. First and foremost, the focus will be on if Seattle is able to re-sign free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who was, when healthy and active, arguably the Seahawks’ best defensive player.
Though Clowney, according to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, enjoyed his lone season in Seattle, there have been reports that he is looking for a record-setting deal in free agency. Clowney is 27 and although his sack numbers haven’t been among the league’s best, he is young, disruptive against the pass and run and has the pedigree of being the No. 1 overall pick in 2014.
The Seahawks have over $50 million in available cap space so they could make some big moves. They could also cut some veterans to clear up even more room, but Seattle could decide to spend its resources on the defensive front in a different way.
Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy said if Seattle is unable to re-sign Clowney, they should target three specific players.
“The next guy I would target no doubt if I’m the Seahawks would be Dante Fowler Jr.,” Heaps said.
Fowler, 25, was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He tore his ACL and missed his entire rookie season, but he rebounded and had 12 sacks combined in his next two seasons. He started 2018 with the Jaguars and was traded to the Los Angeles Rams. During 2018 he had just four sacks, but he took a big step forward in his contract year, totaling 11.5 sacks. Also, since missing all of 2015, he’s missed just one game.
“I think he is a guy in terms of his quick twitch, his ability to play on the edge really fits into what the Seahawks like to do and the type of player they would like to acquire,” Heaps said.
While Fowler would be a welcome addition to seemingly any team, Heaps thinks the Seahawks would need to pair him with someone else. The someone who comes to mind that Heaps thinks could be acquired is Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. Miller, 30, is a former No. 2 overall pick and is a seven-time All Pro (three first-team selections) and was MVP of Super Bowl 50 MVP. He has 106 career sacks since entering the league in 2011.
“I think you could trade a second-round pick to the Denver Broncos for Von Miller,” he said. “If you could possibly swing that with Von Miller and Dante Fowler Jr., I think that could be a pretty sweet combination if you’re the Seattle Seahawks.”
The Seahawks have two second-round picks in the upcoming draft thanks to last year’s trade with the Kansas City Chiefs that sent Frank Clark out of town, and Heaps says he’s heard sending one of those two second-rounders to Denver could potentially get a deal done that gets Miller to Seattle. Miller still has two years remaining on his deal, and is due $18 million in 2020 and 2021 per Spotrac.
“I think I would take Von Miller right now over any potential second-round pick the Seahawks could acquire.”
Another free agent that intrigues Heaps is Robert Quinn.
The Seahawks are very familiar with Quinn, 29, as he spent the first seven years of his career with the Rams after being selected 14th overall in 2011. After seven seasons in St. Louis/Los Angeles, Quinn was traded to the Miami Dolphins, where he spent all of 2018. After the season, he signed on with the Dallas Cowboys and was one of their best players on defense, racking up 11.5 sacks.
“Robert Quinn is a veteran, a proven commodity,” Heaps said. “A guy that last year on a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys had a higher pressure rate than Jadeveon Clowney. I think he could be a guy in terms of that edge rusher role could really fit in well with the way the Seahawks want to play.”
Listen to Heaps’ full thoughts on the Seahawks addressing the pass rush at this link or in the player below.
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