Whether Jadeveon Clowney will remain a member of the Seahawks in 2020 remains unclear.
What isn’t is that quarterback Russell Wilson wants Clowney to stay.
Wilson, who first pleaded for Clowney to return in January before the Pro Bowl, did so again Thursday night when he answered a few questions from fans on his Instagram page while he was watching a replay of the Seahawks’ 2014 Super Bowl win over Denver on NFL Network.
Specifically, a questioner asked if he could “talk some sense” into Clowney.
Replied Wilson: “Clowney come back. If you are listening bro. We’ve got another Super Bowl to win, man. We need you. We need you to come back Clowney. Clowney, Clowney if you can hear me, please come back, bro. I need you homie.”
In January, Wilson said during an ESPN interview before the Pro Bowl that the free-agency period would be key to “getting those superstars on your team,” making clear that he considered Clowney one of those.
“I think we need a couple more (players),’’ Wilson said. “I think we need a couple more. Jadeveon is a big-time guy that we would love to get back on our football team. He was so good in the locker room. He brought so many just havoc plays to the field.”
But Friday the Clowney watch entered day 17 since free agents could first sign with teams, and day 19 since they could first officially negotiate, with no apparent end in sight.
The Seahawks are thought to remain standing with an offer in the $13-15 million per year range, while Clowney is thought to still want something in the $17-18 million per year range. Clowney seems willing to be patient to see if other offers will emerge, potentially even waiting until the COVID-19 outbreak passes enough that he might be able to visit teams to take physicals.
In what might have been the only real piece of news Friday on Clowney, John Clayton of 710 ESPN Seattle — who also serves as a sideline reporter on the team’s official broadcasts — reported that any interest by the New York Jets might be overblown.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas said in a conference call with reporters this week that the team had made contact with Clowney’s representatives, leading to conjecture the team might be ready to make a run at him now that his asking price is down from the $20 million-plus it has been when free agency began.
Clayton reported that the Jets’ interest has consisted of “one phone call” and that the word around the league is the Jets are not interested in paying a lot of money to an edge rusher.
That may leave the Tennessee Titans as the most serious competition for the Seahawks — although there could always be others who may be interested behind the scenes, and teams such as Cleveland has been mentioned, as well.
Titans general manager Jon Robinson also said in a conference call with reporters this week that the team had made contact with Clowney’s representatives. And Tennessee also qualifies for Clowney’s stated goal of hoping to play for a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations after they reached the AFC conference title game last season.
The Seahawks have roughly $8-9 million in cap space for 2020 after accounting for the contracts for Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa (neither of which have been officially processed) and would have to make some room to fit in Clowney.
But doing so isn’t considered the big issue. The Seahawks are willing to make room, but they want to do so giving Clowney what the team thinks he’s worth. The differing assessments of what is Clowney’s market value remains the big sticking point, and the Seahawks appear not wanting to budge while Clowney appears willing to wait.
If the Seahawks and Clowney do come to an agreement, Seattle could also ask Wilson to help out by potentially redoing his deal to take some of his $18 million salary this year as bonus, which would allow the Seahawks to spread out the cap hit into future years and open some up in 2020.
As evidenced by his comments Thursday, Wilson seems to be asking the team to do whatever it takes.