With NFL training camp beginning Tuesday — even if teams won’t actually take the field for any football work until Aug. 12 at earliest — we might finally gain clarity to some of the bigger personnel mysteries still hanging over the Seahawks’ heads.
Specifically, might Seattle still make a run at Jadeveon Clowney?
And will the NFL finally give word on whether it will suspend receivers Antonio Brown or Josh Gordon, opening the door for one or the other (or, who knows, maybe both) to sign with the Seahawks?
Speculation about Clowney’s future — even if just social media pondering with no specific reports — grew over the weekend. The Seahawks made a trade for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and released/waived nine other players, reiterating that the team is in “win-now” mode (though coach Pete Carroll would argue they’re always in that mode) but also gave Seattle some additional salary-cap room.
As of Sunday night, OvertheCap.com listed Seattle with $17.2 million in cap space for the 2020 season, accounting for all 81 players currently on the roster (though that doesn’t take into account bonuses for draft picks, such as first-rounder Jordyn Brooks, who officially signed his slotted rookie deal Monday. Brooks’ deal is expected to decrease Seattle’s cap by $1.6 million).
That’s about $4 million more than Seattle had entering the weekend, and some wondered — if just maybe doing some wishful thinking — if that meant the Seahawks were prepping to make another run at Clowney.
Conversely, all were moves the Seahawks were going to make — or wanted to make — no matter the situation with Clowney, as Seattle needed to get down to the required 80 players this week. They released Branden Jackson and Joey Hunt now to give them a chance to latch on elsewhere because each was going to find it hard to make the 53-man roster in Seattle.
As of Sunday night, there wasn’t any indication there was anything new bubbling on the Clowney front.
At some point, though, he’s going to have to sign with someone (unless he decided not to play this season — though because he’s not under contract, the opt-out rules don’t apply to him).
But, for now, the rules also still don’t allow Clowney to travel to take a physical anywhere, and unless he’s blown away by an offer, he might remain patient and see if something happens during training camp that might create an opportunity that hasn’t been available so far.
It’s clear Seattle remains interested in Clowney (as does Adams, who tweeted, “No question about it!” on Sunday in reply to a tweet that said, with Adams, Seattle is the best place for Clowney to get a Super Bowl ring).
It’s not as clear how much interest Clowney has in the Seahawks and whether he might have been put off by the team’s initial offer. While thought to be as good as any offer he received, the Seahawks’ offer wasn’t the blockbuster deal he wanted and it helped lead to his surprisingly long stint as an unsigned free agent.
In other words, clarity on Clowney may still be a little ways off (though with this story, anything is possible).
Word from the NFL on Brown and Gordon might be closer.
Brown tweeted last Monday apparently announcing his retirement (the third time he’d done so since last fall), then took to Instagram a couple of days later to say he demands clarity on whether he will be suspended for violations of the league’s personal-conduct policy. That obviously indicates he still wants play.
Rumblings around the league Sunday said Brown could get word this week. If he’s cleared — or if the suspension is short — expect to again also hear rumblings about Seattle possibly pursuing Brown.
Russell Wilson is known to be advocating for Seattle to try to sign Brown — the two have worked out together this summer in southern California.
The NFL is still mulling whether Gordon will serve any further suspension after the NFL indefinitely suspended him last December for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy (Gordon violated policies on both performance-enhancing drugs and substances of abuse).
Gordon missed Seattle’s last four games last season and became a free agent.
It’s thought he’d likely miss at least two more games for the PED suspension, with the question then being whether he will be suspended further. Given his history — he’s been suspended seven times by the NFL — that obviously can’t be ruled out.
But you never know, and any ruling would at least provide some clarity.
And it’s been clear for a while now that the Seahawks remain interested in Gordon and Gordon — who has been in Seattle during the offseason — remains interested in the Seahawks.
What if both Brown and Gordon are available?
From a strict potential impact standpoint, Brown would undoubtedly be the choice — he’s just a year removed from a season in which he caught passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns.
But finances could come into play, and the Seahawks might not be the only team to make a run at him (the Ravens have been rumored, as well).
But, as noted above, the Seahawks added some cap room over the weekend and appear to have enough to make it work with Brown. It would now seem that Brown won’t be able to command anything close to the two-year, $30.5 million deal he got last September from the Patriots. They released him after one game following the sexual-assault allegations.
The Seahawks obviously need to consider the whole package with Brown — they’ve reportedly done some deep research to get comfortable with the idea of signing him.
The Seahawks, though, would bank heavily on Brown’s relationship with Wilson and Wilson’s influence to smooth out his transition to Seattle.
In other words, you can’t rule out the Seahawks signing Brown, even if it still seems unlikely.
That means it could be an interesting week on a number of different fronts.