It’s been nearly four months since NFL free agency started up and despite being one of the biggest names on the market, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who played for the Seahawks in 2019, remains unsigned.
After initially starting the offseason seeking a long-term deal worth at least $20 million per year, Clowney changed course and was open to a shorter deal worth somewhere in the $17 to $18 million range. That market seems to have not come to fruition, and it’s unclear if teams that initially showed interest like the Seahawks, Titans and Browns are still looking to bring him in.
Two new teams supposedly could be in the mix, as Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported that Clowney’s two favored landing spots are now the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. He joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton to discuss his report and Clowney’s offseason.
“I think with Clowney, those are his preferences. But his options seem to be closing for a couple of reasons,” he said. “I mean, he didn’t have many suitors for the big contract he wanted when free agency opened and then you have the whole COVID-19 situation, which I think made the situation even worse for him. My report was those are the teams that he prefers to play for. He’s not limiting himself to those teams, but that’s the preference for where he could be.”
Clowney told reporters after the season that he wanted to play for a contending team, and both the Saints and Cowboys could very well win their divisions.
“I think at this point in time, he’s got no problem playing for a team that is competitive and making a push for the playoffs and signing a one-year deal, but that’s an offshoot of the fact that he wasn’t able to get that three-year deal for $18 or $19 million a year that he so hotly desired and talked about in January and February,” Pauline said.
Pauline added that Clowney wanted “to sign yesterday,” but teams aren’t rushing to get a deal done at this point with him, or in trades for big-name players like Yannick Ngakoue in Jacksonville and Jamal Adams in New York. Part of the reason Pauline believes that’s the case, and why many veterans and bigger names haven’t gotten signed or traded, is because there’s a strong chance that the salary cap goes down in 2021, so teams are leaning towards one-year contracts.
COVID-19 has also played a big role in Clowney’s market, as teams can’t bring him or other free agents to their facilities for workouts or physicals. Pauline said he thinks there will be more movement and signings in the coming weeks as training camps begin.
As far as how Clowney and his team have handled the market, Pauline says most of it was out of their control and doesn’t have anything to do with Clowney personally, but it’s a mix of money, the current world landscape and his injury history.
“I think what happened was he was so hard and fast on three-year deal for an exorbitant amount of money, that was the first domino to fall against him, then it was the whole COVID-19 situation,” he said. “I just think everything has aligned against him. I don’t think he’s done anything terribly wrong. There’s nothing out there that’s a major red flag.”
Clayton told Pauline he thinks Clowney may struggle now to get even $10 million from a contending team for 2020. Pauline said it’s unclear and that it likely won’t be known until he can visit teams because of his injury history.
“I think it depends on the team and I think the other thing you’ve got to factor in is the physicals,” Pauline said. “He’s had injuries, so any team that’s going to sign him is going to want to give him a thorough physical. There are some teams that want the physicals done not only by their doctors, but done in their facility … And with the fact that facilities are closed, they’re going to be closed to players until training camp opens, that even limits it even more for him.”
You can listen to Clayton and Pauline’s full conversation on Jadeveon Clowney at this link or in the player below.