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Seahawks’ Schneider: ‘The door’s not closed’ on Clowney but ‘we couldn’t wait any longer’

Apr 22, 2020, 10:55 AM
Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney...
Seahawks GM John Schneider said "the door isn't closed" on Jadeveon Clowney. (AP)
(AP)

Just a day before the NFL Draft, 2019 Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney remains unsigned and it doesn’t appear that he will sign ahead of the draft.

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Clowney’s offseason has to be a disappointment in his eyes, as he reportedly was seeking a deal north of $20 million per year and weeks into free agency, he and his representatives reportedly lowered his asking price to try and drum up more interest. The Seahawks have been in on Clowney since the beginning, but it always appeared that the Seahawks valued Clowney at a certain price and the franchise would not exceed that amount.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Tuesday that she felt that the Seahawks weren’t as interested in keeping Clowney at this stage of the offseason as they’d been initially and that she expects he will sign with the Tennessee Titans.

In a Zoom press conference on Tuesday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider said while he’d love for Clowney to come back, but the team had to make moves to address the struggling pass rush.

“He came in, did a great job for us,” Schneider said of Clowney’s 2019 play. “We made an effort to re-sign him. Still, the door’s not closed, but we couldn’t wait any longer. We had to conduct business. He knew that.”

That “business” was the signings of defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, who both started their careers in Seattle.

“We were able to acquire Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, two individuals that we’re very comfortable with, confident in,” Schneider said. “They bring in (15.5 combined) sacks (from 2019) … We’re excited about having those guys back”

But even with those two moves and the fact that, at least for now, Clowney and the Seahawks were unable to come to terms on a deal, the negotiations went well for both sides, Schneider said.

“Everything was very cordial. He’s a great guy (and is) represented by a great guy,” he said. “I go all the way back to Brett Favre with his representative, Bus Cook. We have had great conversations. He’s just going to kind of feel his way through this odd process. You know, we’ll see where that goes.”

Head coach Pete Carroll echoed Schneider’s comments and gave some insight into what Clowney may be thinking during this offseason.

“We’ll see if Clowney comes back around or not. We don’t know,” Carroll said. “We’ll find out in time. Fortunately, it’s been handled really well, as John said. So there’s an ongoing to that, and we’ll see where he is when he’s ready to make a decision. Things have changed a little bit. Guys haven’t been able to travel around and get to places and visit and stuff like that, so there’s a number of guys that have kind of taken (an approach of), ‘I’m going to wait and see what happens, buy some time here.’ That’s kind of what it seems like JD has done.”

In any other offseason, Clowney may have already been signed. But with travel restrictions and the inability to do in-person visits due to COVID-19, Clowney and others who have injury history aren’t able to really show teams how healthy they are.

So if Clowney does sign elsewhere, the Seahawks will look for Irvin and Mayowa to get after the quarterback, as well as steps forward for young defensive ends Rasheem Green and 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier, who had a quiet, disappointing rookie campaign.

“L.J. will have a year under his belt, and hopefully we can keep him healthy,” Schneider said. “He got hurt last year (in training camp), and we thought we were going to lose him for the whole season that day he went down. It was very disappointing, but we were able to get him back at a certain time in a season, that just wasn’t ideal from a developmental standpoint.”

The Seahawks had only 28 sacks, tied for second-fewest in the NFL. Schneider said there are a number of ways to improve that and it starts with the front office and coaching staff.

“Pass rush is always something we’re focused on,” he said. “Obviously we need to do a better job in that regard and that’s from an acquisition standpoint, from a developmental standpoint, and from a schematic standpoint.”

The Seahawks currently have seven picks in this year’s draft – though they can always acquire more in trades – and you’d have to think that defensive line is at or near the top of their priorities. It would not be surprising if the Seahawks address the D-line with one of their three selections in the first two rounds.

You can listen/watch Schneider and Carroll’s press conference, which includes discussion on how the draft will operate, on the Seahawks’ official website at this link.

Follow 710Sports.com’s Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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