Bumpus: Seahawks and Clowney are both right to take patient approach
Jadeveon Clowney offered his first public comments regarding free agency on Monday during an interview with Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston, where the defensive end is working out as he waits for his next contract. In the interview, which showed Clowney working out and saying he’s healthy, he was very complimentary of his one season with the Seahawks in 2019 and said he would be open to a return.
“I loved Seattle when I was there this past year. I love everybody on the coaching staff. I wouldn’t trade those guys in,” he said in the interview, which can be found on Berman’s Twitter page. “I hope we can work something out if anything happens. I did like it up there. I love (Russell Wilson), I loved all the guys I played with, (Jarran Reed), (Branden Jackson) and all those boys (on defense). I respect them guys.”
The Seahawks have added four new pass rushers to the mix for 2020, and general manager John Schneider has said that the door isn’t closed on a Clowney-Seattle reunion and Clowney himself said he’s open to a return. But this late into the offseason, will it happen?
“I think the Hawks are exactly where I expected them to be with all that’s going on. It’s just uncertainty,” former WSU and NFL receiver Michael Bumpus told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant.
That uncertainty has to do with the coronavirus and its impact on the NFL. Free agents like Clowney are unable to travel and take visits with teams. In Clowney’s case, that’s had a tremendous impact because he had offseason core surgery and has had some notable injuries since entering the NFL. But the Seahawks know him well and he’s shown clear interest in returning.
“Do I expect him to come back? I think there’s a good chance,” Bumpus said. “You listen to him talk and he tells you that he’s going to wait, he’s in no rush, so the Hawks either have to prepare for the long haul and dig in and see what happens or move on. I’m not sure what they want to do.”
The Seahawks could be comfortable with their current pass rush depth, which would likely implement more of a rotation with free-agent signings Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, 2020 rookies Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson as well as young returning players like Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier, Shaquem Griffin and Jackson.
And as Bumpus thinks the Seahawks are right to take a patient approach, he also thinks Clowney is right to do the same thing.
“You can’t blame the guy for holding out,” he said. “You can’t blame the guy for wanting the most money he can get. But you can appreciate that he sounds logical and he’s not making decisions based on emotion.”
Bumpus said he personally would want to have a decision made right away if he were leading an organization, but because it’s an elite player like Clowney, things need to be handled differently.
“When you’re dealing with a talent like Jadeveon Clowney, there’s different rules, right? You’re a little more patient,” he said. “You give him more opportunities to present himself to you and make himself available. I think they’re in a weird position. I think they’re in a position where most people wouldn’t be in, but because of what’s going on with the virus and whatnot and Clowney not being able to go see teams, this process is really dragging along.”
Clowney reportedly started free agency seeking a long-term deal worth over $20 million a year. He has since reportedly lowered his asking price and is also willing to take a one-year deal. And while Clowney himself said he didn’t want to play for a bad or rebuilding team next year, Bumpus thinks money will be the deciding factor.
“I think he still wants to be here, but at the end of the day, it comes down to money and he’s probably going to go to the highest bidder,” he said. “At the end of the season you heard him talk about ‘I don’t want to go to a losing team’ and I think that’s heat of the moment stuff. I think that if someone throws $20 million at him, he’s probably going to take it. I’m just not sure that the Seahawks are going to be that team that throws $20 million at him.”
Danny O’Neil said he was impressed by Clowney’s comments as he could have easily taken the approach of saying he felt disrespected by the offers he’s received from the Seahawks. O’Neil said if that were the case, Clowney would probably make an emotional decision, which would make it more likely he’d leave Seattle. Bumpus said Clowney did well by saying all the right things in his interview.
“He’s speaking logically. He’s got good people around him,” Bumpus said. ” … After hearing him talk, it makes me feel like there’s still a chance (he re-signs with Seattle), but, as he should, he’s going to do what’s best for him and what’s best for his pockets. And again, if a team throws a big dollar sign down, he’s probably going to take it and he should. He’s young – he’s 27 years old. This is the time for him to capitalize on his abilities and who he is and what he’s done in this league over the last few years.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.