Right now everyone in sports is playing the waiting game because of coronavirus. But one league that’s forged ahead is the NFL, which started its free agency period as scheduled on March 16.
Now, three weeks later, the Seattle Seahawks continue to play the waiting game with regards to Jadeveon Clowney.
Seattle’s star defensive end remains the Seahawks’ No. 1 priority in free agency. The former first-overall pick in the draft, who Seattle acquired via trade with the Houston Texans just before the 2019 season began, is one of the most sought-after players on the market. The three-time Pro Bowler is a physical freak at an athletic 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, and he’s at a desirable age having just turned 27.
Clowney’s numbers were modest in his one season with the Seahawks, registering 31 tackles and three sacks in 13 games as he played much of the season with a core-muscle injury that required surgery after the season was over. Yet he still showed his ability to be a disruptive force, commanding double teams and making plays in the backfield against both the run and the pass — rewatch Seattle’s 27-24 victory at San Francisco in week 10 for an example.
One of the conditions of the trade that brought Clowney to Seattle was that the Seahawks would not use the franchise tag on him, allowing Clowney to test the market as an unrestricted free agent. He is one of the jewels of this year’s free-agent class, and he was expected to command a deal in the five-year, $100-million range. His signing was supposed to set the market for defensive ends.
But Clowney still hasn’t signed, with reports saying he’s not receiving offers that meet his asking price. Part of the reason for that may be the social-distancing measures enacted to try and slow the spread of coronavirus, which is preventing teams from performing their own physicals on free agents. There’s speculation that Clowney may be forced to take a one-year deal for 2020 to prove his health, then re-enter free agency again next offseason. Or Clowney may just wait to sign until after social-distancing measures are lifted.
Meanwhile, defensive-end dominoes have begun to fall. Seattle desperately needs pass-rush help, as the Seahawks managed just 28 sacks last season, ranking second-to-last in the NFL — and that was with Clowney in the fold. Pass rushers have already come off the board, including Seattle signing former Seahawks Bruce Irvin (8.5 sacks last season with Carolina) and Benson Mayowa (seven sacks with Oakland).
Seattle still reportedly wants Clowney back, but only at its price. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson made his plea, telling his Instagram followers, “I need you homie.” And while some defensive ends have come off the market, other veteran options like Everson Griffen remain available.
So what do you think the Seahawks should do about Clowney? Vote your opinion here: