As long as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney remained unsigned there’s been a thought that the Seahawks could still be interested and a reunion possible.
But Seattle may be about to put Clowney in the past, according to a report from the NFL Network’s Michael Silver on Thursday.
Silver tweeted that the Seahawks “appear to have moved on from Clowney, who wants more than they’re willing to pay.”
Silver also reported that Clowney continues to want a deal around $15 million or $16 million a year and possibly more, saying he turned down an offer for that amount early in free agency.
Reports have said Seattle’s first offer was in the range of $15 million to $16 million, but after the Seahawks had to fill other needs they told Clowney they could no longer keep that offer on the table. Any current Seattle offer isn’t believed to be in that range, while it’s also thought that Clowney has not had much recent communication with the Seahawks.
Clowney had at one point been reported as willing to lower his demands. But recent indications is that he is not offering Seattle any discount, and as Silver reported “continues to seek a deal that he believes reflects his value.”
Silver also reported that Seattle is turning its attention to free agents Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews and that a deal with one of those two “could happen soon.”
Griffen and Matthews played at USC for current Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
If one or the other signs soon, that would essentially mark the end of any chance of Clowney returning, as the Seahawks wouldn’t have the ability to sign one of those two and Clowney.
Griffen, 32, has played his 10-year NFL career with the Vikings and had eight sacks last season.
Matthews, 34, played 10 seasons for Green Bay and spent last year with the Rams, making eight sacks in 13 games.
In an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle on Thursday morning, Silver said he’s not sure Clowney will be signing with any team soon, noting that the market has changed as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued.
The NFL salary cap is likely to be lower next season than it is this year due to a decline in revenues if fans are not allowed at games. The cap this year is $198.2 million, and next year’s could be as low as $175 million. The league recently agreed that it will not drop further than that, instead parceling out any declines into four future years instead of taking it all at once.
The prospect of that drop, Silver said, has teams “starting to get a little more frugal, and owners are getting more reticent to write checks in general.”
Also a factor, Silver said, is that it remains difficult for teams to give physicals to players — Clowney had knee surgery in 2014 and sports-hernia surgery following the 2019 season.
Teams can give physicals now, unlike most of the year when the league shut down travel. But as Silver noted on 710 ESPN Seattle, players have to go through a five-day process of passing COVID-19 tests before being allowed in buildings.
Those factors could leave Clowney scrambling to find a team once the regular season begins in September.
But there’s no real motivation for Clowney to take the cut-rate deal he might have to accept at this point, with teams yet to begin actually practicing and still in a “ramp-up” phase of training camps.
Silver said Tennessee is still considered the most likely eventual landing spot for Clowney, noting that the odds of that happening may be increasing due to the odd situation with Vic Beasley.
The Titans signed Beasley to a one-year deal worth up to $12 million last spring.
But Beasley has yet to show up to training camp with no real explanation, and the team saying only it has had little communication with him. If Beasley ends up not playing this season, that could open a path for Clowney to Tennessee.
“It’s hard not to connect those dots,” Silver said.
The Seahawks have one open spot on their 80-man roster after officially announcing the re-signing of defensive lineman Branden Jackson on Thursday. Jackson was released last month but it was revealed earlier this week the team planned to bring him back on a less expensive contract than the $2.13 million he had been originally scheduled to make this season. Terms of Jackson’s new deal have yet to be reported.
Griffen or Matthews would each likely sign a one-year deal, likely including incentives for games played.
Griffen projects more to play the five-technique end spot in Seattle’s scheme, where Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier and Jackson play, while Matthews would project more as a LEO or rush end, where the Seahawks will also use Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa and rookies Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson.
As for Clowney, Silver’s report is the latest indication that he may have turned out to be a one-year wonder with the Seahawks after arriving amid much fanfare the week the regular season began a year ago.
The Seahawks got Clowney from Houston for linebackers Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo and a third-round draft pick, which Houston then traded to the Raiders for cornerback Garreon Conley. The pick, No. 91 overall, ended up being used by the Patriots to take tight end Devin Asiasi of UCLA.
One assumption all along had been that it the Seahawks didn’t re-sign Clowney they would at least get a compensatory pick for him signing elsewhere. But that deadline passed in April, so assuming Clowney signs elsewhere now, the Seahawks won’t get any compensation back.