To the list of Seahawks to wear the No. 91 — which includes Chris Clemons, Chuck Darby, Sheldon Richardson, Cassius Marsh and, for one game, Tom Johnson — add Jadeveon Clowney.
The three-time Pro Bowler officially became a member of the Seattle Seahawks around 2 p.m. Sunday when his trade with the Houston Texans was finally signed and sealed and then delivered as news to the public on the NFL transactions wire. The Seahawks then tweeted the news themselves, followed shortly after by another tweet with his picture and a request to not miss his debut with a link to the team’s online ticket information page.
And the trade, once it was announced, was exactly as had been reported, Seattle sending Barkevious Mingo, Jacob Martin and a third-round draft choice in 2020 to the Texans for Clowney, a defensive end who had 18½ sacks the past two years and will be expected to add a significant boost to a pass rush that had been considered one of the team’s bigger question marks as the regular-season opener approaches next Sunday against Cincinnati.
The official trading of Mingo and Martin to Houston also opened up a roster spot, and as The Seattle Times had reported Saturday what was expected to happen, the Seahawks on Sunday officially re-signed quarterback Geno Smith to fill it. Smith gives Seattle a second quarterback on the 53-man roster and will back up Russell Wilson in 2019.
Releasing Smith for a day allowed the Seahawks to not have to risk losing another player during the time the trade was going through the steps of becoming official.
It’s a trade that began to look even better when it was revealed Sunday in several different reports that the Texans will pay $7 million of Clowney’s 2019 base salary of $15.967 million. The Seahawks will pay the rest — almost $9 million.
It’s a development that severely softens the salary cap hit of taking on Clowney at the last minute — because he is playing on a franchise tag, all of his salary has to go on the 2019 cap.
The Houston Chronicle reported the Texans made the agreement to “finalize and sweeten the trade for the cash-strapped Seahawks.’’
Seattle had roughly $21 million in available cap space prior to the trade and also made a few other moves to create cap space after agreeing to the deal, such as releasing receiver Jaron Brown ($2.75 million) and trading Mingo ($4.1 million cap hit).
Conversely, it also was reported that any team trading for Clowney had to promise not to place a franchise tag on him following the 2019 season. That, obviously, limits a team’s options to keep him and is thought to have helped depressed his trade market — few teams were going to want to give up a lot for a player who was going to be able to call his own shot on becoming an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Seattle, though, will hope Clowney will want stay and work something out before potentially hitting free agency next March. At the worst, Seattle would likely be in line for a third-round comp choice in 2021 if he were to leave after the season as a free agent, essentially replacing the pick they gave up to get him.
As for Smith, he won the backup job in the preseason ahead of Paxton Lynch, a 2016 first-round choice by Denver, which made Smith’s release Saturday initially a surprise until it became apparent what the team was doing.
Lynch was not claimed on waivers and could eventually return to the practice squad, a source said, though Lynch was not among the 10 members reported as initially having signed.
Here are more of Seattle’s moves Sunday:
JAZZ FERGUSON, JACHAI POLITE HEAD LIST OF THOSE SIGNED TO PRACTICE SQUAD
Receiver Jazz Ferguson, who led the Seahawks in receptions in the preseason, and rush end Jachai Polite — a third-round choice of the Jets out of Florida who was among the surprising players to be waived Saturday — were among those signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad Sunday.
The Seahawks officially announced the practice-squad signings of six players who had been with the team in training camp — Ferguson, WR Terry Wright, TE Jacob Hollister, CB Simeon Thomas and offensive linemen Jordan Roos and Elijah Nkansah.
The signings of Polite and three others who were not with Seattle in camp were reported by various outlets. Aside from Polite, the others expected to sign with Seattle are center/guard Kyle Fuller, guard Kahlil McKenzie, who was in camp with Kansas City, and safety Ryan Neal, who was in camp with Atlanta. Brady Henderson reported the signing of Fuller and Curtis Crabtree of KJR-AM the signings of Neal and McKenzie.
Of the newcomers, Polite is by far the most intriguing.
Heading into the draft, some analysts thought the Seahawks and a few other teams might consider taking Polite in the first round, which made it a shock to many when the Jets waived him Saturday.
That he then cleared waivers struck some as maybe even more surprising.
However, Pro Football Talk reported the Jets fined Polite more than $100,000 during his brief stay with the team due to tardiness and other issues and it was reported the Jets were so disillusioned by Polite during his time with the team they were not interested in signing him to their practice squad.
Ferguson finished the preseason with seven receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown with a long reception of 41. Wright also flashed at times in the preseason and had a 39-yard touchdown in the preseason finale victory over the Raiders.
Hollister was acquired by Seattle from the Patriots for a seventh-round choice in April and now, after clearing waivers, will stay with the Seahawks.
Fuller was a seventh-round choice of Houston in 2017 who has played in 11 games with two starts and was in camp with Miami before being waived Friday. He also spent part of last season on Washington’s practice squad.
MCKISSIC CLAIMED BY LIONS
J.D. McKissic, who was with the Seahawks since 2016 until being waived Saturday, was claimed by the Detroit Lions.
McKissic had been listed by Seattle as a return specialist this year but also played running back and receiver during his time with the Seahawks.
McKissic was the only player waived by Seattle who was claimed by another team.
MARSH SIGNS WITH CARDINALS
Cassius Marsh, who was released Saturday and became a free agent, signed Sunday with the Arizona Cardinals.
Marsh was a 2014 Seattle draftee who then returned to the team last March after spending last season with the 49ers. So this will be his third NFC West team in less than a year.
Marsh spent the preseason as Seattle’s starting rush end, or LEO. But Ziggy Ansah is expected back this week and will be the starter there, and Clowney also will play that spot, though the Seahawks likely will look for ways to get them on the field together.