How the Seahawks can actually re-sign Jadeveon Clowney

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 02: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 02: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks still have a very real possibility of re-signing Jadeveon Clowney.

The news surrounding Jadeveon Clowney the past few weeks has been quite sour for Seahawks fans, but I assure you this will be a few paragraphs of positivity for the fans who fell in love with the former number one pick last season.

Let’s get the current situation out of the way first. It has seemed as though the Seahawks are not interested anymore in bringing back Clowney, but rumors started to swirl this week that Clowney was offered a one-year $15 million dollar deal to return to Seattle. However, veteran NFL Insider Josina Anderson posted this tweet making it clear that Clowney and the Seahawks have not spoken in a few months:

While the whole not speaking in a few months thing is not exactly encouraging for the portion of Seahawks fans who are desperate for Clowney to return (I, for one, find myself in this category), the tweet does say that Seattle is open to bringing him back, and Clowney has made it known that he is open to a return to the Pacific North West. So enough with the rumors and estimated round numbers, and let’s talk about how Clowney can come back.

According to Over The Cap, the Seahawks have 90 players under contract at a total of $210,551,584, with the top 51 (Only the top 51 player salaries count against a teams cap) at a total of 177,361,550. This leaves the Seahawks with $13, 957, 645 left in cap space. But, as fellow FanSider Geoff Shull explains in his post about true cap space, the Seahawks cap space will end up being much lower after top-round draft picks that are in the “Top 51” are signed.

The Seahawks best-case scenario will see the Seahawks with around $5-6 million in cap space. That, quite obviously, is not enough to sign the likes of a dominant edge rusher entertaining multiple offers.

So here’s the process of bringing Clowney back

First, sign Clowney to a one year $20 Million dollar “prove it” deal

It seems at this point that it is a very real option for Clowney and his camp to consider is a one-year deal where he can try to make his case that he is a true superstar (and that he is healthy) after a disappointing 2019 on paper. If all of his potential employer’s won’t give him the deal he wants, the Seahawks should swoop in with a one year 20 Million dollar deal that perhaps Clowney will take and then try next offseason for the superstar money.

Make some cuts and/or trades

The Seahawks currently have 8 defensive ends/pass rushers that could make the roster next season. The number will certainly be smaller, probably six or seven, at the beginning of the season. The current eight (In no particular order) are Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson, Benson Mayowa, Branden Jackson, Rasheem Green, LJ Collier, plus OLB pass rushers Bruce Irvin and Shaquem Griffin.

So add Clowney to that mix and now you’re looking at two of these men being unemployed. The best options for cuts to free up cap space are from the DE group Branden Jackson, and safety Bradley McDougald. McDougald could also be traded for a low round pick instead of cut, but regardless these moves would free up about $4 million in cap space.

Restructure Russell Wilsons Contract

Restructuring contracts has become a common tactic to fit players under the cap. It’s a tactic that the Chiefs recently used with Sammy Watkins to free up cap space. According to Over The Cap’s Salary Cap Calculator, if the Seahawks were to restructure the 2019 MVP runner-up’s contract and defer part of his base salary for 2020 to future seasons, say in the range of $12 million, this would create just enough to fit Clowney’s $20 million dollar extension under the cap.

While the $12 million that Russell Wilson would be making this year would transfer to the future, you would still have to believe that if you were in Russell’s shoes you would be like, “Hey that’s my money and I want it now!” But, at the same time, you would also have to imagine the Russ will want what is best for the team and will make the money work.

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So there you have it. If you were doubting that the Seahawks can make it work to sign Clowney, think again. But it still does seem like a long-shot with all the strings that need to be pulled but hey, there clearly is a realist option, however improbable it may be, so dream on 12’s.