Friend of the blog and leading NFL insider Tony Pauline is reporting for Pro Football Network that league sources believe Jadeveon Clowney will eventually sign with the Baltimore Ravens.
“A lot of people in the league believe that in end, he’s going to end up with the Baltimore Ravens… The Ravens need an upgrade with their pass rush. The belief from league insiders is don’t be surprised if he ends up with the Baltimore Ravens.”
According to Overthecap, the Ravens have approximately $16m to spend after parting with Earl Thomas. The Seahawks have about $15m available.
Simply put it will be unforgivable, having waited so long for Clowney, if the Seahawks allow him to join a team in a similar financial position.
Nobody can accuse the Seahawks of not being pro-active. Year after year they’ve been willing to make moves and be aggressive. The Jamal Adams trade is the biggest example of that but in the past they’ve completed various deals later in the year — from Clowney to Duane Brown and Sheldon Richardson.
However, it should be considered a stunning case of inactivity if Clowney ends up signing for another supposed contender for a financial package we know the Seahawks could afford.
The Ravens would be adding him to a line including Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, Matt Judon, Brandon Williams and day-two draft pick Justin Madubuike. They further bolstered their front seven by spending a first round pick on Patrick Queen.
Those are the kind of names many thought the Seahawks might look at as they attempt to, in their own words, fix the pass rush and the defensive line.
Going into the season genuinely relying on Benson Mayowa as the primary early-down pass rusher shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone. You can hope for the best but you also need to face reality. He’s a career rotational pass rusher (or in other words, a backup). Even if he personally has a solid season — you’re also still relying on a supporting cast of players like Rasheem Green and paper thin depth at defensive tackle.
It’s quite incredible really that as August turns into September, this issue still hasn’t properly been addressed. They’re keeping a decent chunk of cap space available because they know as well as we do that this unit simply isn’t good enough. As noted on Wednesday, it’s really saying something when Jake Heaps feels obliged to be blunt and honest about just how dire this defensive line is.
Fast forward to January. Do you really want to be sat here again discussing another early-round playoff exit, then spending an entire off-season talking about the need to fix the pass rush? Déjà vu anyone?
Signing Clowney won’t be a cure-all to the problem. Many have settled on Mayowa and Bruce Irvin being enough as a compliment. I’m not sure it is. The Seahawks needed a major revamp of their D-line. Noting that Mayowa isn’t as bad as a semi-retired Ziggy Ansah isn’t really anything to write home about.
Even so — the situation will be critical without Clowney. At the very least he’d provide an X-factor that in key games (NFC West or playoff) could be the difference. We certainly saw evidence of that last year.
It’ll be a tough pill to swallow if he ends up in Baltimore. The Ravens didn’t actually perform that well with their pass rush last year. They had 37 sacks, a hurry percentage of 7.3% and 140 pressures. All are in the bottom half of the league. That’s despite being by far the most blitz-heavy defense. They blitzed 54.9% of the time, with Todd Bowles and Tampa Bay in second place with 43.4%. If you’re blitzing 10% more often than Bowles then that’s quite a statistic.
The response has been a concerted and intelligent reshaping of their line. They haven’t splurged. The trade for Campbell was a statement of intent and they retained their top rusher in Judon. They then added extra pieces and now, reportedly, could be set to add another.
That’s a stark contrast to the Seahawks who talked a good game early in the off-season and said all the right things but then delivered very little in terms of addressing their self-confessed top priority.
If the Ravens get Clowney and Seattle ends up having to settle for what isn’t even Plan B (that was presumably Everson Griffen) — that would warrant some criticism that so far the team has avoided under a Jamal Adams shaped cloud of positivity.
I’ll keep repeating this line because I think it’s a season-defining point at this stage. What is the bigger gamble? Committing money to Jadeveon Clowney that you’ve so far been reluctant to pay, or going into next season hoping that your current D-line won’t cost you a wasted year?
For me, the obvious answer is to sign Clowney and roll with the punches.
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