What’s the market like for Seahawks targets Clowney and Griffen?
Nearly every top free agent has been signed, but two players the Seahawks have been linked to remain available: defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen.
Clowney spent the 2019 season with the Seahawks after being traded to Seattle from the Texans, and Griffen has spent his entire career with the Minnestota Vikings, earning numerous Pro Bowl honors, and played for head coach Pete Carroll at USC. Both would fill an obvious need for Seattle, who had an awful pass rush in 2019.
But the market hasn’t been as kind to either player as they anticipated or would have liked, as nearly two months into free agency, neither are signed for 2020 while other pass rushers like Robert Quinn and Dante Fowler found homes relatively quickly.
ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore that in the case of Clowney, there were just too many variables working against him getting the contract he desired.
“Clowney was supposed to set that market for pass rushers and he never did in part because teams viewed him as a fringe top-10 defensive end, but not a top-five guy and he wanted to get paid like a top-five guy in the $20 million range and teams weren’t comfortable with (paying) that to a guy who’s a good pass rusher but hasn’t proven to be great, (but he is) a very good run stopper,” Fowler said. “But it was the inflated market combined with his injury issue with the core muscle surgery. Teams just wanted to get their hands on him and check their medical before they signed him to that big of a contract.”
Because of Clowney’s injury history and the fact that he couldn’t travel to visit teams to show that he’s healthy due to the coronavirus, many thought he’d re-sign with the Seahawks. Seattle reportedly made an early offer around $13 million before apparently upping that to $16 million. Obviously, neither deal was accepted, and as a result, the Seahawks signed defensive ends Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin and also drafted Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson.
“Seattle’s case was ‘hey, we already know his medicals, we’re comfortable with that to a point,’ but they just weren’t in the ballpark financially and I just heard Clowney wasn’t really entertaining that number and as a result, you still have some good pass rushers that could be had for pretty low money, or at least compared to what they wanted,” Fowler said. “Like a guy like Everson Griffen.”
Seattle has been linked to Griffen in part because he played for Carroll at USC, and there have reportedly been discussions between the team and player in recent weeks. But Seattle isn’t the only team interested in the veteran defensive end.
“I know he has multiple offers out there,” Fowler said. “I believe Arizona is interested, Dallas is interested, I believe Seattle at least has mild interest as sort of a backup plan at pass rusher. In that case, a guy like Griffen, you know (he) can wait knowing that at least one of those deals is going to stay there and (he doesn’t) have to sign right now. So it’s just at a bit of a stagnant point.”
While Clowney was originally seeking $20 million or more annually and is now willing to take slightly less, what’s Griffen’s price tag looking like?
“I think he’s hoping to be a $10 million a year guy and he can probably still play at that level,” Fowler said. “I don’t think the offers are at that number, but I don’t think they’re at $million, either. I think they’re probably a little bit higher, but if (he was offered) $10 million, he’d be signed right now. I do believe that.”
As for that $20 million asking price Clowney had, Fowler said he could have made around that much if he’d signed early in free agency when teams had more money available.
“I think he could have gotten somewhat fairly close to that ($20 million annually) if he would have signed week one (of free agency), but it would have been more like what Dante Fowler got (from the Falcons) in that $16 million range,” he said. “… I know the Browns were close to a deal with him and it was pretty good money. But it fell through and I think the player just didn’t approve it at the end, so here we are.”
The Seahawks and Browns both have reportedly made offers to Clowney at various points of the offseason while the Titans and Jets were also thought to have interest. The Eagles have been a team that has come up in recent weeks as well. Simply put, there’s interest, but Clowney is willing to wait.
“He’s had chances. I mean, three or four teams have been trying to sign him,” Fowler said. “It’s just not enough money in his eyes.”
Listen to the full interview with Fowler at this link or in the player below.