It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Seahawks top priority in free agency is retaining Jadeveon Clowney. Fortunately for Seattle, it appears to be a weak market for the star defensive end.
We are just hours away from the official start to free agency. Nearly all of the top 25 free agents have already agreed to contracts during the legal tampering window. One has to wonder what’s going on with the Seahawks free agent, Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney is known as one of the best pure base defensive ends in the NFL. He is about as athletic as they come. I mean he ran 4.53 40-yard dash at 6’5”, 266lbs. He has the explosiveness, raw power, functional athleticism teams dearly covet. He has been ranked in the top 10 in run defense for several years now and has been fairly productive against the pass. So, why has his market been so underwhelming?
The first and most logical explanation would be that he has never hit double digits in sacks in his career. With Clowney reportedly looking for a contract in the ballpark of $21 million per year, this would be a very expensive acquisition for non-pass rusher. The 3-4 base defenses are not going to want to pay a linebacker $21 million or more if he is unable to acquire the hard stats (sacks). 4-3 base defenses will see a player who is highly disruptive and dominate against the run but is unable to take over the game. Neither spells a massive contract.
The second explanation would be due to his injury concerns. Over the course of his career, he has gone through several major surgeries and missed a total of 21 games (over 5 seasons). Clowney most recently played through a core muscle injury in 2019 and required surgery. While it is admirable and shows the level of grit and determination Clowney possesses. It also shows that he is not healthy going into free agency, he would be unable to pass a physical as is (if team visits were able to occur), which makes teams even more worried about handing out a large contract.
Defensive end needy teams decided to look elsewhere for help. The majority of suitors (Bills, Giants, Colts, Baltimore, and Eagles) have all already satisfied their need at the position with various other signings. They decided they didn’t want to roll the dice on an immensely talented defensive end who has struggled with hard stats and injuries.
This comes into favor with Seattle. This could give the Seahawks an opportunity to bring him back in, on a shorter-term deal (3 years) at a much lower price tag ($16-18 million). Meanwhile, Clowney will have eaten a mean slice of humble pie and should be roaring back next year to prove how dominant he really is. Talk about a potential win for John Schneider and his bold gamble.