The Seahawks would be wise to extend Jadeveon Clowney’s contract into the future. Here’s what that the Hawks could do to lock him up.
Clowney coming out of college was projected to be a once in a lifetime type of player. He is big, fast, explosive and has a very high football IQ. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do in college. The Texans liked him enough to take him as the 1st overall pick in the 2014 draft. The Seahawks were thrilled to take him off their hands.
His career started off slow between the learning curve of playing in the NFL and battling injuries. However, as the years progressed, so did Clowney. Each year he has been better than the last both statistically and with his understanding of the game overall.
Between 2016 and 2018 he was top 10 in tackles for a loss at 18 per season. He also averaged eight sacks, 53 tackles, 20 QB hits, and one forced fumble. He earned Pro Bowls nods in all three seasons. It’s clear he is just scratching the surface on his potential and what made him so special in college.
Evaluating Clowney’s current Seahawks contract
Let’s compare his numbers against three defensive ends who earned sizeable contracts this past off-season; Demarcus Lawrence, Dee Ford, and Frank Clark.
Average per season between 2016-2018
Clowney Lawrence Ford Clark
TFL 18 11 10 10
Sacks 8 8 8 11
Tkls 53 44 35 40
QB ht 20 18 18 22
FF 1 2 3 2
What I gather from the numbers above, Clowney is right on par with all these players. If we were to rank out each stat (TFL, Sacks, Tackles, QB hits, Forced Fumbles), Clowney would average out as the second-best player out of the group behind Frank Clark.
What the numbers don’t tell about the group would be that Frank Clark had one of the highest missed tackle percentages of the group last year (21.2% of tackles were missed). He was also very poor against the run. Dee Ford has been very inconsistent in his production and 7 of the 9 total fumbles and over half his QB hits came from one season. Demarcus Lawrence has been known to take plays or even drives off showing an underlying issue of “how bad does he actually want it” and if we give him the contract will he stop producing?
Clowney was the only one of the four names above who did not receive a contract extension last off season.
Player Terms Signing Bonus Guarantee Avg Salary
Clark 5yr, $104 Million $19 Million $62.3 Million $20.8 Million
Ford 5yr, $85.5 Million $8 Million $33.4 Million $17.1 Million
Lawrence 5yr, $105 Million $25 Million $65 Million $21 Million
In 2018 Clowney was the 2nd highest rated edge player in the NFL, per PFF. After having continuous growth year to year why was he traded away? Its likely due to the spike in contractual values for defensive ends. Before Lawrence’s extension in the offseason, Clowney’s market value per Spotrac was $16.6 million a season. After Lawrence’s extension, Clowney’s valuation shot up to $20 million a season. Houston decided they didn’t want to have two of the top 10 highest paid defensive ends between J.J. Watt and Clowney.
Just two weeks before the 2019 season started, Clowney was traded to the Seahawks for a 2020 3rd round pick, Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo, ending his promising tenure with the Texans.