Believe it or not but it’s nearly a full month since Michael Silver reported the Seahawks had ‘moved on’ from Jadeveon Clowney and that a deal ‘could happen soon’ with Everson Griffen or Clay Matthews.
A couple of days after the report it became clear, as explained in this article, that the report was more of a nudge to Clowney than a sign of anything serious happening with Griffen or Matthews. So it proved.
In a mailbag piece today for PFN — trusted insider and friend of the blog Tony Pauline reported that, according to his sources, the belief is still that Clowney will join the Ravens:
Most league insiders I’ve spoken with, including a great source who I called just before typing this out, still believe Clowney ends up with the Ravens, as I suggested last week. It checks off a lot of boxes for both sides.
That said, I have no direct knowledge of the two sides talking. It’s also a situation that seems to change daily. It’s already September and Clowney is still unsigned. If I had told you six months ago this was going to be the situation, you would’ve told me I was nuts.
This is a contrast to Charles Robinson’s reporting on the situation. Yesterday he suggested the Seahawks and Titans were still the front runners, as has felt the case for some time. He also touched on the bizarre nature of this saga:
“There’s been times where teams have asked if he’s going to fire (agent) Bus Cook. Is there a problem between Clowney and Cook? There have been times where teams have told me they’ve asked Cook to get Clowney on the phone. This is Jadeveon Clowney who’s driving this.”
Robinson also adds that Seattle offered Clowney $12m — presumably for one season. If true, we more or less know where the Seahawks are at.
The reporting of this stalemate, however, has lacked clarity throughout. The off-season started with Seattle’s local media implying the Seahawks wouldn’t be able to afford Clowney as he was destined to earn +$21m a year. That changed to people wondering if the Seahawks were offering about $17m. We then had the weird leaking of a seemingly legit offer sheet via a random twitter account that said the offer was $27m plus incentives over two years. Then we hear the $15m figure from Silver and now $12m from Robinson.
With Yannick Ngakoue agreeing to play for $12m in Minnesota, it doesn’t help Clowney’s situation. If that really is Seattle’s range right now, the market dictates that’s pretty much all Clowney can expect. A $12m salary, at this late stage, with an opportunity to re-enter the market next year, would be a good deal for a player who is currently unemployed and with wallets tightening in the NFL.
We’ll see if the imminent start of the season ends the stalemate. Clowney has drawn this out as much as he can. Once the season begins, he cannot expect his price tag to go up. Not if you’re paying for fewer than 16 games.
It’ll be time to take the best offer or be prepared to sit out the season — which he may well do.
It also seems just as clear today than it did a month ago that the Seahawks are protecting their cap space on the off-chance Clowney opts to return.
Something needs to happen in the next seven days though. Any player signing for a team has to go through Covid testing over a three day period. In order to be ready for week one, they’ll need at least a couple of days with the team. For me the absolute latest you can wait is this weekend if you want to get something done for the Atlanta game.
The Seahawks should want to get something done for Atlanta too. They play in the toughest division in football and every game is going to matter — for seeding and for the division. They can’t afford to flop into a couple of early losses like they did in 2015 or 2018 and forever be playing catchup. They need to give themselves the best chance of winning early and often — and that means not going to play Matt Ryan and Julio Jones with Benson Mayowa as your primary pass rusher.
Ryan can be surgical without pressure and here’s a reminder of Julio’s career stats against the Seahawks:
2019 — 10 catches, 152 yards
2017 — 5 catches, 71 yards
2016 (regular season) — 7 catches, 139 yards, 1 touchdown
2016 (playoffs) — 6 catches, 67 yards, 1 touchdown
2012 (playoffs — 6 catches, 59 yards
2011 — 11 catches, 127 yards
Saturday is also cut-down day when teams will discover who is available on waivers. It’s looking like a vital weekend. I think that’s tipping point. That’s the moment where the Seahawks either have to sign Clowney or move on.
Pauline in his mailbag was also asked about Clay Matthews. He says he’ll likely end up in Seattle.
If Clowney is a no-go it’s really the only option left. It’s a mediocre option too, albeit one they’ll still need to make. Seahawks fans have been talking themselves into a pass rush based around Mayowa, Rasheem Green, Bruce Irvin, Alton Robinson and L.J. Collier but it simply isn’t good enough. Matthews might be long past his best but, sadly, he’d likely be their top rusher if signed today.
Darrell Taylor feels like a write off this year and given his history of injuries, it’s not an encouraging start for his future prospects considering the Seahawks used a third round pick to trade up and get him. Matthews, if nothing else, will need to replace Taylor. Not to mention Branden Jackson is no longer on the roster, eating into Seattle’s ‘depth’.
This is really where we’re at now. Possibly on the brink of finally knowing what Clowney is going to do — but also reaching the point of no return and needing to finally move on. If that happens, they may well wish they could re-run the off-season and come up with a new plan — including not letting Everson Griffen slip through the net or watching other players like Calais Campbell, Robert Quinn, Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue go to other teams.
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