Moore: If Clowney rejects the Seahawks, here’s where he’s likely to sign

Mar 31, 2020, 12:55 PM | Updated: 1:03 pm
Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney...
If the Seahawks can't keep Jadeveon Clowney, Jim Moore thinks he'll end up in the AFC. (Getty)

We’re in Week 3 of the Jadeveon Clowney Watch, still waiting for him to sign somewhere. Even the top NFL reporters have no idea where he’ll end up, how much he’ll make or the length of his contract.

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I freely admit that I have no sources, which means I have no one telling me anything about Clowney. But I’m still going to tell you where he’s most likely to end up if he doesn’t return to the Seahawks.

How will I do this? I’ve entered all of the pertinent factors into my own personal data base, hand-written in my spiral notebook, and come up with conclusions that will dazzle you if I’m right and make you say “Moore blew it again” if I’m wrong.

Here are the factors:

•  Room under the salary cap

•  Proximity to his hometown of Rock Hill, South Carolina

•  Need for a pass-rusher

•  A team that could contend for a Super Bowl since Clowney said he doesn’t want to play for some “sorry-bleep” team.

I do not believe the B.S. being spewed about Clowney being better suited to play in a 4-3 defense instead of a 3-4 defense, so I am not using that as a factor.

I’ll list the potential landing spots from least likely to most likely in my own version of the “Elite Eight”:

8) Buffalo: The Bills added defensive linemen Quinton Jefferson and Vernon Butler and added pass rusher Mario Addison in free agency but also lost defensive end Shaq Lawson to Miami. A playoff team a year ago, the Bills still have $25.6 million in cap space. It’s a two-hour flight from Buffalo to Charlotte, which is a half-hour drive from his hometown of Rock Hill.

7) Tennessee: The Titans have added one pass rusher already in Vic Beasley, but they’ve got the ninth-most room under the salary cap at $23.9 million. The Titans are also a team on the rise, having made it to the AFC Championship last year. It’s a one hour and 25 minute flight from Nashville to Charlotte.

6) Washington: The Redskins could really beef up a pass-rush that already accounted for 46 sacks last year. The main reasons they made the Elite Eight: $26.9 million in cap space and a one hour and 35 minute flight to Charlotte. The main reason why Clowney probably won’t end up there: Redskins were a “sorry-bleep” team last year and are in a rebuilding season with new coach Ron Rivera.

5) Detroit: The Lions signed defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Nick Williams in free agency but still have plenty of room under the cap ($31.3 million). It’s a one hour and 46 minute flight to Charlotte from  Detroit. The biggest downside: Playing for head coach Matt Patricia, which is such a downer that it could trump all of the positives put together, whatever they are, when it comes to joining the Lions.

4) Philadelphia: The Eagles, like the Seahawks, are known to be interested in acquiring prominent pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue from Jacksonville. If they can’t get him, maybe they’ll turn their attention to Clowney even if Eagles fans don’t like him after an unintentional helmet-to-helmet hit knocked Carson Wentz out of the playoff game last year. It’s also a one hour and 50 minute flight to Charlotte.

3) Carolina: The Panthers lost their top pass rusher, Bruce Irvin, who had 8.5 sacks last year, to the Seahawks. They’ve got only $9.4 million in cap space, but I’m making Carolina the No. 3 team in the Elite Eight because of the location and Clowney’s love for his hometown. I feel like that might be a huge factor that could come into play if everything else is fairly equal.

2) New York Jets: The Jets re-signed their top pass-rusher from a year ago, Jordan Jenkins, who had 8 sacks. But they have an interesting combination of a sack shortage and plenty of money to spend. The Jets had 35 sacks last year, just seven more than the Seahawks, but they have the third-most money under the cap ($32.5 million) and New York is a two hour flight to Charlotte.

1) Cleveland: Mark my words, if he doesn’t return to the Seahawks, Clowney will end up with the Browns. Can you imagine how much havoc he can cause with Myles Garrett? The Browns are No. 1 in salary-cap room at $42 million, Cleveland is a one hour and 32 minute flight to Charlotte. The biggest negative: The Browns were 6-10 last year, but their sorry bleeped-ness could be a thing of the past if Clowney plays in Cleveland.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jim Moore on Twitter.

More Seahawks offseason coverage

Do Seahawks need to give Clowney a firm deadline to re-sign?
Huard has ‘a little apprehension’ about Hawks signing Dorsett
Bumpus: The longer Clowney is unsigned, the better it is for Hawks
Seahawks reportedly releasing FS Tedric Thompson, TE Ed Dickson
2020 offseason tracker: Signings, departures and more

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Moore: If Clowney rejects the Seahawks, here’s where he’s likely to sign