DANNY AND GALLANT

Bumpus: Seahawks are smart to not pay top dollar for a pass rusher

Apr 9, 2020, 8:47 AM
Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney...
The Seahawks have not come to terms with Jadeveon Clowney in free agency. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks have yet to come to terms with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and there’s a strong chance that he decides to sign with another team, such as the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets or another team that could use a top-end pass rusher.

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Clowney has shown he is willing to wait for the best deal possible, and he has reportedly lowered his asking price from $20-plus million a year to closer to $17 or $18 million.

While Clowney seems comfortable waiting for the best deal possible, the Seahawks have shown patience, but they’ve also added to the defensive line on the chance that Clowney goes elsewhere. Further complicating matters is the NFL Draft is two weeks away, so Clowney could wait until after the draft and be a more attractive option to teams that aren’t able to draft adequate pass rush help.

Seattle has signed Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin to rush the passer, which could signal that the Seahawks could opt to have a more rotational pass rush situation rather than paying a big contract to a defensive end. Is Seattle going about it the wrong way?

“I don’t think they’re making a mistake,” former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Wednesday. “If they didn’t have a bunch of other holes to fill – if they had an O-line that was solid, if they had a secondary they believed in – then I would say ‘OK, go ahead and break the bank when you pay for that guy’ but the reality is they have other needs on this football team and if they feel like they need to keep money in the bank just in case to fill a void, then I think they’re doing the right thing.”

Bumpus said he personally values Clowney at $20 million or close to it, but he understands why the Seahawks wouldn’t want to pay him around that much at this point.

“At the end of the day, you don’t want to put your franchise or organization in a sticky situation,” he said. “That’s all they’re doing and they realize right now that they have the leverage. He cannot visit teams and he’s going to have to come down from that asking price. If somebody’s willing to give him that, I’m sure the Seahawks will shake his hand, thank him for his services and (tell him) to go take the money … But the reality is this football team has needs and they want to make sure they can cover their butts if this deal doesn’t work out.”

Danny O’Neil said he thinks the Seahawks believe that their team is currently in a position where they would be better off signing multiple “mid-shelf” pass rushers compared to paying one premiere edge rusher, like Clowney, top dollar. Bumpus agrees.

“I think they realized that it takes a village, especially on that defensive line,” he said. “There’s a constant rotation, these guys are constantly going to battle every single down, it’s very hand-to-hand combat down there (and) injuries happen.”

Last year, Clowney was injured from Week 10 onward and missed three games, defensive end Ziggy Ansah played hurt and missed a number of games and the rest of the defensive end depth wasn’t quite good enough to cause consistent pressure. The Seahawks had just 28 sacks and Clowney had 3 of them.

When Seattle won the Super Bowl, they had a deep pass rush rotation that included Irvin, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and O’Brien Shofield. While their current unit of Irvin, Mayowa, Jackson, Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier and Shaquem Griffen is not to be viewed in that same way, it could wind up being more productive that 2019’s group.

“They realized they’re going to have to have guys in a good rotation,” Bumpus said. “You can have an All Star defensive lineman, that’s all fine and dandy, but he’s going to need some help. He cannot do it all by himself.”

Whether or not Clowney does return to Seattle, Bumpus is happy with the Seahawks’ offseason so far.

” I love what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re getting pieces down there on that defensive line. At the end of the day, I think they’ll be fine.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Michael Bumpus on Twitter.

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