Do the Seahawks need to give Clowney a firm deadline?
The Seahawks’ offseason has come to a bit of a lull after seven free-agent signings and a trade. Even after all those moves, the pass rush has gone relatively unaddressed and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney remains unsigned as teams have yet to meet his reported asking price of $20 million or more.
Seattle did sign defensive end Bruce Irvin, who the team drafted in the first round in 2012, to help the pass rush, but other top defensive ends have already been signed, and after Clowney, there’s not too many available players who could be seen as a No. 1 edge rusher for the Seahawks or other teams.
It was thought heading into the offseason that the Seahawks would be trying their best to keep Clowney, and with other defensive end options having been snatched up, one could make the case that Seattle’s offseason could be described as “Clowney or bust.”
With the free agent pool for pass rushers being considerably more slim than it was two weeks ago, and with players like Yannick Ngakoue of Jacksonville and Matthew Judon of Baltimore still available through trade, do the Seahawks need to give Clowney a deadline of him signing with the team so Seattle can shift their focus elsewhere? Brady Henderson, who covers the Seahawks for ESPN.com, told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy that he thought so.
“I just think if you’re the Seahawks, I don’t know if you can continue to wait on him forever,” he said. “If they start seeing their alternatives dry up … then the may have to make a decision and say ‘look, we just can’t wait for you any longer.'”
The hosts of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore agreed.
“You thought he was going to be gobbled up certainly in the first wave, maybe the first day, maybe the first name was going to be Clowney, but here we are two weeks later … I think they need to make a decision pretty soon here,” Jim Moore said. “I don’t think they need to make it this week, but I think by next week they do because they need to formulate a game plan for the draft and it looks like the draft is going to start as planned on April 23, so now we’re just three weeks away, so if you do have Clowney or you don’t have Clowney, you got to plan accordingly.”
The Seahawks have the 27th overall pick in the draft this year and also have two picks at the end of the second round, so they have a chance to draft a top edge rusher or even two in the first 64 picks.
Also making matters interesting is that the league could be delayed or play less games in 2020 due to the coronavirus.
“Do you really want to pay Clowney closer to that $21 million that he wants thinking that we might not have a full 16-game season?” Moore said. “There’s so many variables out there and I think the Seahawks have reached a point where they need get in a situation of ‘OK, this is our drop-dead date here’ and (whenever) it might be … it needs to be something in advance of the draft so they can plan accordingly.”
Co-host Dave Wyman has been vocal about wanting the Seahawks to keep Clowney, saying the team will get its money’s worth if they’re able to keep him, but he is surprised Clowney hasn’t re-signed with Seattle yet.
“Maybe they need to (set a deadline),” Wyman said. “Going into (free agency), I thought it was going to be more of an amicable type of negotiation and I really thought that they would have him signed by now, but maybe he’s just getting that ‘sticker shock.’ We talked about him maybe having to sign a deal where he has come in with his tail between his legs because … all that matters is what all 32 teams think about him and if he was that coveted he would have gone in that first wave of free agency.”
Bob Stelton thinks the team needs to potentially move on if Clowney is willing to keep waiting for a better offer from the Seahawks or other teams, but says he trusts general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
“They can only sit still for so long,” he said. “And I don’t think they’re sitting there looking at the phone waiting for it to ring, I think they’ve got Plan B, Plan C (in mind) … I think they’ve got everything in place in every contingency. There’s no part of me that believes ‘we’re going to get caught with our pants down here because we’re waiting for him and while we were waiting, everyone got snapped up.’ … I’ve got every shred of confidence that they are dialed in on a timeline and maybe they do have a drop-dead date, but I think they’ve got irons in the fire so to speak outside of Clowney.”
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• 2020 offseason tracker: Seahawks’ signings, departures and more