The Seattle Seahawks might need to find a player to replace Carlos Dunlap. That could mean bringing back a familiar face: Jadeveon Clowney. I can already hear 12s groan a bit over the mere suggestion that Seattle go through the same weirdness that happened last offseason when Clowney ended up not coming back to Seattle and instead signed with the Tennessee Titans.
But Clowney got hurt in 2020 and missed half the season and did not record a sack. He most likely will not be welcome back with the Titans as they will spend money elsewhere and are up against the cap, like the Seahawks.
In fact, Tennessee might be in a worse place as Seattle is likely to cut defensive end Carlos Dunlap this week and that would save $14 million. Dunlap was pretty good in 2020 after being traded to the Seahawks and I wish he could be re-signed but he is expensive.
If – and this is a huge if – Clowney could stay healthy in 2021 he has proven to be great against the run while also putting pressure on opposing quarterback. Clowney won’t get the sack numbers that Dunlap would, probably, but he can still create havoc in an opposing team’s pass game. Clowney, though he had surgery on his meniscus last year, should be cleared to play as early as April.
Should Seahawks re-sign Jadeveon Clowney?
Throwing out 2020 when Clowney was hurt and Dunlap was traded mid-way through the year and including 2018 and 2019, Clowney had a total of 78 quarterback hurries in those two years. Dunlap had 70. While Clowney may not be tackling the opposing quarterback, he is affecting what that quarterback does as much as Dunlap.
The important part here is two-fold. One, Clowney was pretty good with the Seahawks in 2019 and Seattle wanted to re-sign him but he chose to go to a team with a coach he was familiar with when Clowney was with the Texans prior to coming to Seattle. Clowney was good enough in 2019 for Seattle to want to bring him back so he fits well in the Seahawks defensive scheme.
The second point is that Clowney is going to be less expensive than Dunlap will be. With a reduced salary cap in 2020, NFL teams are unlikely to overspend on an edge rusher they think might be an injury threat and doesn’t produce massive sack totals. Clowney isn’t likely to get more than $10 million in 2021. That would be at least a $4 million savings between Dunlap and Clowney.