Clayton: Some dominoes have fallen in Seahawks’ favor in Clowney pursuit
Mar 17, 2020, 4:24 PM
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Seattle Seahawks have opened the free agency period in a very quiet mode.
As a perennial playoff team, the Seahawks feel they have enough talent to be patient and not overpay in free agency. Plus, the Seahawks prefer to take care of their own players.
They weren’t going to pay $14 million a year for right tackle Jack Conklin, who went from Tennessee to Cleveland. They weren’t going to pay $20 million a year for a defensive end. They still wish to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney.
What the Seahawks were able to do was re-sign defensive tackle Jarran Reed to a two-year, $23 million contract. At the recent scouting combine in Indianapolis, the Seahawks were willing to pay him $10 million, according to sources. A month before the combine, Reed tweeted out that a $10 million number was a sign of disrespect. This was before negotiations began.
The Seahawks waited. This was a good year for defensive tackles in free agency. Once the numbers started coming in Monday, the price for a good, young defensive tackle was between $10 million and $13 million a year. Reed saw those numbers and accepted $11.5 million a year.
One of the good things for Reed is that this is a two-year deal. Within a year or two, the NFL is expected to go to a 17-game season, and that could mean a bigger contract if Reed plays well.
What is going to be interesting in the Clowney negotiations is how the recent agreements by other players impact his negotiations. He would like more than $23 million a year. After the two days of the legal tampering period, that number would be a long-shot.
Clowney is one of the six or seven best edge rushers in football, but he’s not a sack guy. He’s never had a double-digit sack season. Without the sacks, it would be hard for a team that employs a 3-4 defense to justify paying more than $20 million a year for a linebacker, which is where Clowney would probably have to move back to if he went to a 3-4 team.
Watching Clowney with the Seahawks in 2019, he was a major disrupter as a 4-3 defensive end. But in free agency, some things haven’t gone right for him with the 4-3 teams that could have been in the market for his services. The Buffalo Bills signed Mario Addison. Indianapolis traded for DeForest Buckner, a defensive tackle, and paid him $21 million a year. And after the Colts gave $16.5 million a year to left tackle Anthony Castonzo and a one-year, $25 million deal to Philip Rivers, it would be tough for them to give a defensive end $21 million year.
Carolina and Washington are 4-3 teams that could interest Clowney. But if he doesn’t think they could be playoff teams, those options might not be good enough, which could help Seattle.
The pass-rushing market has moved quickly. Arik Armstead re-signed with San Francisco. Robert Quinn went to the Chicago Bears. Shaq Barrett, Bud Dupree, Matthew Judon and Yannick Ndakoue were given franchise tags. Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah went to Miami. Jason Pierre-Paul re-signed in Tampa Bay. Vic Beasley signed with Tennessee.
Clowney, Dante Fowler and Kamalie Correa are still left. After that, the Seahawks could see about the franchise tagged players as trade candidates.
More Seahawks free agency coverage
• Seahawks offseason tracker: Signings, departures and more
• O’Neil: Seahawks in same spot as 2013, but it’s not as easy this time
• Seahawks reportedly bring back TE Luke Willson
• Seahawks re-sign defensive tackle Jarran Reed to two-year deal
• Seahawks reportedly lose OT/TE George Fant to Jets