NFL.com’s Michael Silver: Clowney ‘would love to stay with the Seahawks’
With nearly every top free agent having signed their deals, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who played for the Seahawks in 2019, is still available.
Clowney, a former No. 1 overall pick, has reportedly been seeking a deal worth $20 million or more per season. Teams have apparently been unwilling to pay that much for a defensive end with an extensive injury history and who has failed to net 10 sacks or more in a season, and now there are rumors that Clowney could be looking to sign a one-year deal to try and cash in on a large payday next offseason.
NFL.com’s Michael Silver joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore and gave his insight into Clowney’s disappointing offseason.
“I think if you’re Clowney and you hit a point where your expectations aren’t being met, you say, ‘You know what, I’ll sign a one-year (deal) somewhere, I’ll go tear it up and then I’ll get paid next year,’ and that’s certainly plausible,” he said. “It’s an interesting situation because if you just look at sack numbers, he’s not a guy, despite his pedigree, has put up those numbers, and last year certainly was no exception.”
In 2019, Clowney was part of a struggling Seahawks pass-rush unit. He had just 3 sacks and the team only had 28 during the regular season. But he was routinely double- or triple-teamed as the rest of Seattle’s defensive line wasn’t very impressive, and he was still able to disrupt opposing quarterbacks as well playing very well against the run.
“In terms of impact, we’ve seen him just take over games,” Silver said. “That first game in San Francisco, one of the biggest games of the season in retrospect, he was not only great, he was clearly the best player on the field and on a field that had some pretty great players and he just made so many plays and made so many other plays possible.”
During that game on Monday Night Football, the Seahawks knocked off the then-undefeated San Francisco 49ers 27-24 in overtime on the road. Clowney was at his best that game, recording a sack, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble for a touchdown and hitting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a handful of times and constantly recording QB pressures and disrupting a very good running attack. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his stellar play.
“If you got that guy for 16 games healthy, I think he’d easily be getting $20 million a year,” Silver said.
But that was also the game where Clowney suffered a core injury that impacted him the rest of the season. He didn’t record a regular season sack after that point and he also missed three games. The injury required offseason surgery, and due to the coronavirus outbreak across the United States, Clowney is not able to visit teams and get examined by their doctors as team facilities are essentially shut down. Silver says that’s likely a big part of why he’s still unsigned.
“I think anyone with health stuff, right now, is in a worse situation than he normally would be,” Silver said. “Anyone who you’d say, ‘I’d love to have our doctors examine him before I know how we value this’ (about) is in a spot … It is true that if you are Jadeveon Clowney, you’re wishing it was 2019 or, hopefully, 2021 if all goes well, but 2020 is a tricky year for that.”
The Seahawks have lost two defensive linemen – Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods – but were able to retain Jarran Reed and bring Bruce Irvin back to Seattle after four seasons away. The defense was poor last year and the pass rush was a big reason why. Retaining Clowney and keeping him healthy would go a long way in improving that unit and the defense as a hole.
Silver thinks Seattle is Clowney’s preferred landing spot.
“I did have a long talk with him after that (Week 13) game with the (Minnesota) Vikings last year,” Silver said. “He told me how much he loves the culture and how much he loves being in Seattle and how he thinks it taught him how to be a professional in a way that he hadn’t been previously. So I believe, all things being equal, that he would love to stay with the Seahawks, so it’ll be interesting to see, given their cap situation, given his financial parameters, if that can work out again.”
You can listen to the full conversation with Silver at this link or in the player below.
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