Bumpus: No, the Seahawks’ pass rush isn’t better without Clowney
Is there any way that the Seahawks’ pass rush is actually be better in 2020 than it was in 2019 if Jadeveon Clowney signs elsewhere?
It’s an argument some have made in opposition of re-signing the defensive end, who, while disruptive against the run and pass, totaled just 3 of Seattle’s 28 sacks. The Seahawks had the second fewest sacks in the entire NFL last season, and had far and away the least amount of sacks of any playoff team in the regular season.
The Seahawks, despite not signing Clowney as of this moment, have put an emphasis on the pass rush, signing free agents Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, who combined for 15.5 sacks last season with the Panthers and Raiders, respectively. Helping matters, the two started their careers in Seattle, so both are familiar with the system, which is critical in a very strange and currently virtual offseason.
Those two, along with Irvin and Mayowa, join Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier, Branden Jackson and Shaquem Griffin to rush opposing quarterbacks from the edge in 2020, and some have said that having a deeper unit is more critical to the success of the pass rush than signing a top edge rusher such as Clowney.
But does the addition of Irvin, Mayowa and the two draft picks actually have Seattle better prepared to get after the quarterback next season if Clowney signs elsewhere? Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus isn’t sold. At all.
“It’s a big negative. No. Clowney is one of the best out there,” he said on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant. “I get it, you gained some sacks in Irvin and Mayowa, it makes sense. You look at the numbers and you’re like ‘OK, Clowney only had three sacks,’ but he also had four forced fumbles, two touchdowns on defense, he collapses the pocket, he can drop into coverage if you really need him to. He does so many things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”
Not filling up the stat sheet has been something Clowney has been known for in his career. He has always been a disruptive force at defensive end since entering the league as the No. 1 pick in 2014, but he’s never totaled 10 or more sacks in a single season. The lack of sacks last year and throughout his career as well as injury concerns are two of the biggest reasons Clowney remains unsigned.
Clowney’s initial asking price was over $20 million per year and while he has reportedly lowered that number throughout the offseason, he didn’t accept any offer that the Seahawks made and Seattle general manager said that while the team is still open to a reunion, they had to address the pass rush in free agency, thus, Mayowa and Irvin came on board. Bumpus doesn’t think that’s enough, especially with Clowney still out there in free agency.
“To say that Bruce Irvin and Benson make the Seahawks better if Clowney isn’t there is crazy to me,” he said. “Really break down the film and watch what this guy does. What (Irvin and Mayowa) do is they give you some hope to where if Clowney doesn’t show up, doesn’t sign with the Hawks, you’re like ‘OK, at least we have some guys that have shown they can be productive.’ But can Irvin and Mayowa do the things that Clowney does? Negative … These guys are in the NFL for a reason and they’ve got stats for a reason, but sometimes you’ve got to ignore the stats, look at the film and (realize) Clowney is a special football player.”