ESPN’s Dianna Russini on Clowney: Seahawks ‘just not into it as much’
Apr 21, 2020, 1:51 PM | Updated: Apr 22, 2020, 11:08 am
Well over a month after NFL free agency kicked off and just days before the start of the draft, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t re-signed with the Seahawks, or signed with any other team for that matter.
Clowney was seen as the best non-quarterback to hit the open market, but nearly every other top free agent has signed already, especially pass rushers.
Dianna Russini, who covers the NFL for ESPN, reported a few weeks ago that Clowney had lowered his asking price from $20 million per year to closer to $17 or $18 million. Even with that, he’s still unsigned.
“A lot of teams are sitting and waiting here, and I kind of felt like this was going to wind up happening,” Russini told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Tuesday. “As soon as I heard that $20 million (asking price) – it was even $21 million – initially I was like, ‘he’s wild. I don’t think he’s really understanding his market right now.'”
The Seahawks were always seen as a favorite, if not the favorite, to sign Clowney as he’d played in Seattle in 2019 and had made it clear how much he appreciated his time with the team. But from the start, it was clear that the Seahawks wouldn’t overpay.
“And then it sort of came true because you saw Seattle sat back and they wanted nothing to do with that price tag,” Russini said. “The New York Jets want nothing to do with it, the Browns didn’t and the Tennessee Titans don’t.”
The Jets have been brought up a few times, but are seen as longshots to land Clowney. The Titans and Browns, however, were more heavily linked. The Titans’ official website had a story on Clowney with quotes from general manager John Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel.
“Once (his camp) decided to lower (the asking price) or at least make sure the word was out there that they were willing to drop that, at that point, other organizations had started to move on a bit, meaning the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets,” Russini said. “But it seemed the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans from what I could gather – and there’s always a chance there’s another team in there – but from what I could sense, it was just those two (who were still interested).”
Both the Seahawks and Titans have made moves on the defensive line to help with the pass rush. Seattle has signed edge rushers Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa and also re-signed defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Tennessee signed edge rusher Vic Beasley, Jack Crawford and Kamalei Correa.
With the draft this week, teams in need of pass rushers, like the Seahawks, could opt to draft edge rushers hoping that they’ll be successful while paying much less than it would take to sign Clowney. Most mock drafts have the Seahawks taking an edge rusher with one of their first three selections, and if that were to happen, the need of re-signing Clowney lessens.
“The closer we’ve been getting to the draft, the more I’m feeling like Seattle’s just not into it as much,” Russini said. “John Robinson down in Nashville, he spoke about (potentially signing Clowney) yesterday, actually, and just said ‘we’re going to wait for this draft to go through, see how it shakes out, see what we can get and maybe we’ll pick him up (after the draft).’ The Tennessee Titans are still interested, (and) I think if you were to ask me where I predict he winds up it’d probably be Tennessee.”
You can listen to the full conversation with Russini, which includes discussion about this week’s “virtual” draft and how Monday’s practice run went, at this link or in the player below.