Moore: Seahawks trending towards a poor D-line we’ve seen before

Mar 18, 2020, 9:20 AM
Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney...
The Seahawks appear all-in on Jadeveon Clowney, which Jim Moore doesn't understand. (Getty)

I’m not sure what I’m missing here, and maybe you can help me out. It seems like there is growing anxiety about Jadeveon Clowney and a continuing hope that he remains with the Seahawks.

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The longer he stays unsigned, chances improve that he stays in Seattle. Or so the thinking goes. And it makes sense. Some teams have dropped out of a Clowney pursuit by signing other pass rushers, increasing Seattle’s odds of keeping him.

And with so many free-agent pass rushers off the market, it leads you to believe that the Seahawks are now in a Clowney-or-bust mode. But they’re really not. There are still lower-cost options out there, and if you’re more interested in a bigger splash, the Seahawks have been mentioned in connection with trades involving Matthew Judon of Baltimore and Yannick Ngakoue of Jacksonville.

Still, let’s say you’re all in on keeping Clowney. Can you explain that one to me? If they do make it happen, Clowney and Jarran Reed will return as the headliners on the defensive line.

But haven’t we seen this before? And since we have, why would we want to see it again? In 2019 the Seahawks recorded 28 sacks. Know how many defensive linemen came up with? That would be 19, including 3 by Clowney and 2 by Reed.

And to those who say sacks aren’t everything and that it’s typically difficult for defensive tackles to register sacks, I’d say, yeah, I get all of that. But when you go from 9 in 2018 to 3 like Clowney did in 2019 and Reed went from 10.5 in 2018 to 2 in 2019, it doesn’t make me want to bring them back for a combined $30 million or more.

If we’re arguing about this in front of an arbitrator, you could tell him that Clowney would have been more impactful if he hadn’t suffered a core injury midway through the season. With Reed, you’d say he was hurt by not having a training camp and missing six games because of a domestic-violence suspension.

You could be right. But Clowney was inconsistent before the core injury. And did you note how many tackles for loss Reed had in 2019? Zero.

I know they were only two pieces on the defense, but I think we can agree that it was a below-average unit against the run and the pass. So why would you want to run it back all over again?

Another consideration: If they sign Clowney to a team-friendly $18 million to $20 million annual deal, it would force them to make moves to give them more operating room under the cap to address other needs. If they lose Germain Ifedi, they’ll need another starting right tackle if you don’t think Jamarco Jones or someone else on the roster can replace him.

A Clowney signing would have ramifications for Justin Britt and K.J. Wright, two candidates to have their contracts restructured or outright released.

Could things get worse without Clowney? Sure. But couldn’t they get better too? I’ll cite that old saying about the definition of insanity, hoping the Seahawks are forced to go in a different direction after another team signs Clowney.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

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Moore: Seahawks trending towards a poor D-line we’ve seen before