Ex-Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney’s free agency has been less then picture perfect. However, it does appear a new suitor has entered the race.
It is unclear whether Seahawks free agent Jadeveon Clowney is receiving bad advice or what. All that can be said for sure, this is not what anyone expected for the star defensive lineman. Teams have offered him contract after contract. Yet, his asking price is always above his market.
It appears there is a new development, Josina Anderson is reported there is a new mystery team in pursuit of Clowney that no one is talking about. It is unclear which team it is, however, I have a solid guess. The only hint we have received would be the defense deploys a 4-3 scheme.
I reviewed the teams that are utilizing a 4-3 scheme, have been connected to Clowney and are still in need of pass rush help. This is what I came up with:
Of these 4, the only team rarely talked about is the Colts. However, they are still mentioned as a dark horse. What if the team in pursuit is even farther down this elusive path. My gut tells me it is the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons spent big money this off-season bringing in defensive end Dante Fowler, running back Todd Gurley, and making a splash trade for tight end Hayden Hurst. Despite missing the playoffs last year and losing starters CB Desmond Trufant, DE Vic Beasley and TE Austin Hooper, this doesn’t sound like a team ready to roll over.
Some would probably be surprised to see Atlanta as my dark horse team for Jadeveon Clowney. It’s understandable considering they already spent big money signing defensive end Dante Fowler. What I can tell you, they play opposite sides of the defensive line. Fowler is a speed rusher who is more of a LEO, whereas Clowney plays the 5-tech (base end) and focuses on the run.
I am sure Atlanta is looking at the NFC South conference that has become infinitely more competitive this year with the Buccaneers rise to power and thinks they could use more ammo. This is especially true with the Saints not going anywhere and the Panthers still hanging on.
Adding Clowney to their already stacked defense could be enough to keep them in the conversation. A defense that contains S Keanu Neal, LB Deion Jones, CB Darqueze Dennard, DT Grady Jarrett, DE Dante Fowler and Clowney could be an absolute force. Just what the team needs in a conference with so much talent at the QB position.
The biggest hurdle and likely the reason the offer from the ‘mystery’ team remained low is due to cap space. If I am correct, the Falcons only have roughly $7 million in cap space right now. They are likely more than willing to offer a contract maxing out their space as-is. However, they would want to avoid cutting any starters to sign him, if possible.
For Clowney to get what he wants, the Falcons would likely need to make a cut or two. Players like center Alex Mack or safety Ricardo Allen could do the trick. The two would save the team nearly $11 million in cap space. This would be more than enough to bring in the defensive end. The team would just need to decide if it is worth it.
As for the Seahawks, I think they are almost entirely out of the race. Allowing Jarran Reed to retake number 90 and moving another player (LJ Collier) to Reed’s second choice in numbers (91) was the final straw for me.
After all, Schneider held off the number switch all off-season. Something changed. So unless an injury takes place, expect Jadeveon Clowney to play elsewhere next year. Perhaps, it’ll be with the true dark horse team, the Atlanta Falcons.