On Monday I wrote that the time was coming for the Seahawks to make a call. Come to an agreement with Jadeveon Clowney or move on and sign one of the other available options. According to Michael Silver, such a decision is imminent:
Early in free agency, Clowney turned down an offer that would have paid him more than $15 million in 2020. He continues to seek a deal that he believes reflects his value, but thus far no team has been willing to meet his price.
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) August 6, 2020
There are several things to discuss following this report.
Firstly, the mention of Clowney. This reads like a Seahawks source explaining the frustration they’ve faced with the situation. Silver reveals the value of the 2020 salary they were offering then makes reference that ‘no team’ has been willing to meet whatever his demands are.
This is the Seahawks essentially saying, ‘we’ve tried’ and ‘what else can we do?’
I also think this is one last message being sent through the media. It’s a nudge to Clowney that time has pretty much run out. If he wants to play in Seattle — for whatever salary they can offer with their remaining cap space — he’s going to need to decide now. Not in September. Otherwise they will move on.
The thing is — it seems increasingly likely that Clowney will see this through to the end. That could mean not playing in 2020. Many players are opting out. A hiatus might actually be beneficial for Clowney. He takes a year, gets fully healthy and re-enters the market in 2021. He’ll need to be realistic about the offers he’ll eventually receive though especially with the cap likely lowering.
It’s unusual that it’s dragged on this far. What does Clowney honestly expect by now? The money isn’t there. Sticking to your guns is admirable but unless he’s willing to retire unless he gets what he wants — what’s the end game?
This feels like a final dig in the ribs by Seattle. And make no mistake — getting Clowney back would be far more beneficial than the two other names mentioned by Silver.
Everson Griffen had a really solid 2019 season with eight sacks and 35 pressures. However, he was mostly the foil for Danielle Hunter. The Seahawks won’t necessarily be able to rely on him to be ‘the guy’. Not as he approaches his 33rd birthday.
Clay Matthews had a similar stat line for the Rams with eight sacks and 28 pressures. He’s already 34 though and was very much a role player in LA — where Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler led the way.
Although many have talked themselves into believing Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin can provide the foundation of a reasonable pass rush, the fact is they are both backup/role players. If you were rotating them in behind a couple of studs, that would be fine. Relying on them? That’s just not good enough. Not for a team with Super Bowl ambitions.
With Darrell Taylor on the NFI list and perhaps still recovering from his injury last season, the Seahawks can’t bank on Mayowa, Irvin, Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier.
Even the return of Clowney wouldn’t be much of a tilt from last season. Sure — Mayowa is superior to Ziggy Ansah but that’s mostly a reflection on Ansah. Irvin always finds a way to chip in and will be a useful specialist rusher and SAM. When you’re trying to transform one of the worst D-lines in the league last year into something at least in the middle of the pack though — this isn’t really cutting it.
Take Clowney away — who was among the league leaders in pressure percentage and double teams in 2019 — and the situation becomes even more critical.
Removing Clowney and rotating Griffen/Matthews with Mayowa and Irvin could easily be a step back from a year ago, as incredible as that might sound. Without Griffen or Matthews, however, that will certainly be the case. So they have to do something. If Clowney won’t come, they’ve got to look at the other options and hope for the best.
That’s where they’re at. Hoping for the best. The defensive tackle depth is remarkably poor. They have to hope that their rag-tag bunch of DE’s can scrape some plays at key moments and do just enough. There’s also a chance that this unit, ultimately, will end up costing the Seahawks any chance of serious contention in 2020.
Earlier today I read this article from 2013. People forget how important the pass rush was to the Seahawks during the Super Bowl years. It’s long forgotten now — but we were all talking about Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril being the thing that pushed Seattle over the top. That the great D-line depth played a huge role in 2013.
The article provided this quote:
We all know Chris Clemons’ value to the Seahawks defense. This knowledge is based on watching countless hours of our beloved Seahawks through crushing defeats and glorious highs. My point being… more often than not the defense relies on how Chris Clemons performs.
Despite all the talent Seattle had in 2012 — the LOB, Wagner and Wright — the defense relied on Chris Clemons because he was the only one creating consistent pressure. The arrival of Bennett and Avril delivered a complete defense.
The Seahawks, currently, don’t even have a Clemons they can rely on.
Clowney could be that person and with better support in 2020 he could be even more effective. If he’s not returning — then they have to sign a Griffen or Matthews, roll the dice and hope they get two sixes.
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