Clayton: Seahawks playing waiting game on Clowney, who misread market

Apr 3, 2020, 2:35 PM
Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney...
John Clayton thinks Jadeveon Clowney waited too long to lower his asking price. (Getty)

The Jadeveon Clowney wait continues for the Seahawks.

Could the Seahawks acquire Ngakoue like they did Clowney last year?

Clowney reportedly lowered his contract demands of $22 million to $24 million annually to around $17 million, but chances of getting that type of deal might be tough. While Clowney might have been right in his initial asking price, he’s got to look back and realize his blunder.

While the Seahawks may only be willing to pay him between $13 million to $15 million, Clowney clearly misread the markets. Had he made the reduction in the first few days of free agency, he might already have a deal.

What made matters worse for him is that the NFL closed off physicians who could examine him to fulfill their curiosity about the injuries he’s had during his career. That league order will probably extend past the draft.

Some areas have reported that the lower price request has drawn interesting from the Tennessee Titans and the New York Jets. The Titans have said they have been in contact with Clowney’s agent. Don’t doubt that. Head coach Mike Vrabel coached him in Houston and knows what he would add to the defense.

The problem is fitting Clowney into their salary cap would be very difficult. They are down to around $20 million of cap room and would like to bring back starting cornerback Logan Ryan, who was hoping to get $10 million a year on the open market. Further complicating things for Clowney is the Titans signed outside linebacker Vic Beasley to a one-year, $9 million contract. They brought back outside linebacker Kamalei Correa on a one-year, 3.5 million contract.

That’s $13 million on two one-year deals. Clowney will want a one-year deal under the current circumstances. Can the Titans tie up $26 million to $30 million of cap room on three outside linebackers? Doubtful.

Sure, the Green Bay Packers hit it big last year signing two outside linebackers to their 3-4 defense, but they were on multi-year contracts that had lower first-year cap numbers.

Scratch the thoughts on the Jets. The Jets have made one phone call to Clowney’s agent since the start of free agency. They haven’t made him an offer. They need an edge rusher, but they let agents know they weren’t going to be big spenders in free agency this year.

Last year they spent $178.69 million on contracts in free agency. They put $130 million into guaranteed contracts. Because of that, they couldn’t afford to be big players this year. They’ve brought in six players – mostly offensive linemen – with George Fant being the highest paid at $9.1 million a year.

Two more things negatively affect Clowney’s bargaining position. He can’t get a physical and if he agrees to a deal, that team could fail him for his physical when he reports to the team. Second, he’s now thinking about teams with 3-4 defenses, which pay outside linebackers less than 4-3 defensive ends.

Listen, I’m not saying he is not worth $20 million a year. The market simply wasn’t there for him. The highest-paid defensive player this year turned out to be DeForest Buckner, who was traded to Indianapolis and landed a $21 million a year contract.

To get $17 million as a 3-4 linebacker would make him the third-highest paid outside linebacker in the league behind Khalil Mack and Von Miller. Most of the 4-3 teams have made their moves on defensive ends.

So Seahawks general manager John Schneider continues to wait.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Twitter.

More Seahawks offseason coverage

Clowney or bust? That may not be the case for this Seahawks’ offseason
Breaking down the Mayowa signing and what it means for Clowney
Hawks LB Cody Barton working to stay ready during shutdown
Seahawks 2020 offseason tracker

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