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Clayton: Latest Seahawks news after spending time at the NFL combine

The Seahawks should be the favorites to sign Jadeveon Clowney, John Clayton says. (Getty)

I’ve been covering the Indianapolis Combine for 31 consecutive years and love it.

Clayton: 10 things we learned about Seahawks on Day 1 of the NFL combine

Still, this is the earliest I’ve returned from the combine. I used to go there on a Tuesday and stay until the next Monday. There was a time on the Mondays when the defensive backs were the only players left to work out. You have more time to catch general managers and coaches as they walked to and from the workouts.

Once the workouts moved to the RCA Dome, the access points were different so there was less chance of catching them. So I would leave on Saturday. This year, the workouts are primetime in Indy. They started at 4 p.m. and go through the night. GMs and coaches aren’t available to talk. We can’t get into the workouts.

So I left on Thursday this week. Still, it’s a profitable trip. You learn what’s going on in the draft, in free agency, in re-signings and, in this particular year, the labor story.

Let’s catch up on a few things picked up before leaving Indianapolis.

• ESPN’s Josina Anderson got a hold of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and confirmed what everyone thought in the Seahawks organization: Clowney liked his Seattle experience and wants to re-sign with the Seahawks. But Clowney isn’t dumb. With Chris Jones being franchised by the Kansas City Chiefs, Clowney is the best defensive player in free agency.

He can command top dollar. The Seahawks probably would like to keep him in the $18 million a year range. He’s thinking more than $21 million a year. Negotiations will heat up in the next two weeks.

• A story came out this week that the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts are interested in Clowney. Of course they would. He’s perfect for their defenses. But I don’t think anything would happen with those two teams.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard likes to build through the draft and they have other needs to address in free agency. Even though they have plenty of cap room, it would hard to bring in former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, pay Clowney and re-sign left tackle Anthony Castonzo.

The Giants have two things against them. First, they are a 3-4 defensive team and 3-4 linebackers make less than 4-3 defensive ends. Second, they aren’t expected to be a winning team and Clowney wants to be on a winning team.

The team I would worry about would be the Carolina Panthers. Owner David Tepper is willing to spend. The Panthers will be a 4-3 team. He grew up South Carolina. The only question is whether they can be a winning team.

•  Over the weekend, the NFL and the NFLPA will determine the 2020 cap number. At the very least, it will be $200 million. There is some thought it could get to $205 million. That would help the Seahawks, who have more than $50 million in cap room. It would help in negotiations for Clowney and defensive tackle Jarran Reed. It will help in sorting out the right tackle situation where Germain Ifedi and George Fant are free agents.

A $5 million increase from $200 million would make the Greg Olsen signing even better. They signed him to a one-year, $7 million with a cap number of $6,906,250. A $5 million increase makes that not a problem.

Pete Carroll said earlier in the week that he’s interested in bringing back tight end Luke Willson. Good move.

• It’s not a surprise that former Seahawk Richard Sherman voted against the CBA. He’s not a fan of 17 games. Most veterans aren’t. The surprise is that he’s not going to run to be head of the NFLPA. In fact, he might not stay on the executive committee. The NFLPA meets in Florida on March 8.

• I can’t criticize Russell Wilson, Aaron, Rodgers, Maurkice Pouncey, J.J. Watt and other players who are critical of the drafted CBA. They have to put their bodies through 16 games, and they know the pain and strain of doing it. Adding one game is too much for them. Understood. Still, I think the 1,100 players making the minimum as far as salaries will get a little more than 50 percent of the vote. The CBA needs more than 50 percent of the votes to be ratified.

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