SEATTLE – The Jadeveon Clowney watch is now almost three months old with no definite end in sight.
But that doesn’t mean all is necessarily quiet.
Among several national reports about Clowney in recent days is one that arrived Wednesday from former ESPN reporter Josina Anderson.
Anderson tweeted Wednesday afternoon that she “was just told while Seattle remains open to Clowney returning, the economic situation has notably changed over last couple months since both sides spoke. The starting pt (point) would be very different. Still, not in the air right now.”
None of that is necessarily new – which isn’t meant to disparage the report at all. There’s value in noting that the status quo remains the status quo.
That’s what that report seems to indicate – Seattle is leaving the door open, as general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have said on several occasions in recent weeks/months, but any Seahawks offer now isn’t going to be what it was initially, and at the moment, there’s nothing indicating anything is going on.
Most interesting is maybe there’s a report at all.
Could Clowney’s side be trying to reignite some interest as NFL teams get set to head into the summer?
One potentially notable aspect of this is that the NFL remains hopeful that players will be allowed into team facilities before the end of the offseason program on June 26 (they have not been so far due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Could Clowney’s side be hoping that maybe that would allow him to finally take a physical for a team, which has been thought to be one of the stumbling blocks to getting the kind of four- to five-year deal worth $20 million or more that he originally wanted as teams wanted to know first that his knee and sports hernia issues are OK?
Such a big deal isn’t going to happen now, though, even if Clowney proves healthy in a physical. But a physical might at least up the ante some.
Clowney has been thought willing to be patient and wait until training camps begin in late July, especially if he has to take a one-year deal. By that point, he’d have an even clearer idea of how he’d best fit with a team to try to have the kind of big season to set himself up for another run at free agency and the kind of contract in 2021 he was initially hoping to get this year.
Anderson’s report came on the heels of another this week from Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who said it was his understanding what Seattle has offered Clowney is a one-year deal “in the range of $15 million.” That’s in line with what has long been thought, that Seattle has been offering Clowney in the $15-16 million range.
Florio wrote further that Seattle “has been willing to pay” Clowney $15 million on a one-year deal.
The question is whether Seattle is still willing to pay that.
The answer is probably not.
The Seahawks have $13.9 million in cap space remaining for 2020, according to OvertheCap.com, so any signing of any player for anything significant at this point will mean having to make a move – or more likely, moves – of some sort to fit him in.
Anderson’s report reiterates what has been thought for a while: Seattle probably can’t go that high now.
Well, Seattle could if it really wanted to, since cap space can always be created either by cutting players or renegotiating deals, possibly pushing some cap spending this year onto future seasons.
But any team might be more reluctant to try to borrow from the future now with the uncertainty over whether fans will be allowed at games this season, which could mean a drop in revenue. That could then mean a drop in the expected salary cap in 2021 and what teams will have to spend. Of course, that also means there might be less chance for Clowney to get the kind of deal he’s been angling for by waiting a year. But at this point, Clowney also likely has no choice but to try to gamble on getting a huge deal next year since the time to get one this year has likely passed.
Earlier reports stated Clowney turned down an offer of $18 million from the Browns.
Whether that offer remains on the table is unclear, but the Browns have a lot more room than Seattle does to make something work quickly with Clowney if they want, listed as having $37.2 million in available cap room.
Whether anyone else is really in the hunt is unclear. Recent reports have suggested the Giants and Jets – each at one point rumored interested – are no longer in the mix.
The Titans and Eagles have also been mentioned and each has more cap room than Seattle does. The Eagles are at $24.7 million and the Titans at $19.3 million, according to OvertheCap.com. And it’s worth remembering that on any one-year deal, all of the cap hit has to be taken in 2020.
All we really know is that, at some point, Clowney will sign with somebody (true, an obvious point, but still) and that it won’t be the kind of multiyear, $20 million-plus-per-year he’d been hoping for originally.
We also know the door remains open in Seattle, even if less ajar than a few months ago.
Otherwise, for now the wait continues.
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