Jadeveon Clowney Eyeing Cowboys, Saints?

Jadeveon Clowney would be equally happy to join a contender on a one-year deal or a middling club on a multi-year deal, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network hears. Specifically, he’d like to land with one of two contenders – the Cowboys or the Saints.

[RELATED: Clowney’s Best Multi-Year Offer Came From Browns]

It’s not clear whether the Saints or Cowboys have reciprocated that interest. The three-time Pro Bowler would represent a classic Jerry Jones splash, but they already have $20MM/year committed to DeMarcus Lawrence. The Saints are also short on cap space, and they don’t necessarily need Clowney. With Cameron JordanMarcus Davenport, and Trey Hendrickson on the edge, there’s little reason for the Saints to shell out the kind of money that Clowney is seeking.

The Browns put a multi-year offer on the table for Clowney, one that is believed to be in the range of $12MM/year. The Browns are reportedly willing to move their offer up to somewhere around $15MM/year, but that’s still a step back from the ~$17MM Clowney was looking for in March. Reading between the lines, it sounds like a winning club could have Clowney on a one-year deal worth roughly $15MM, but that’s likely too rich for his two preferred teams.

Last year, Clowney registered just three sacks with the Seahawks. That was the lowest healthy-season total of his pro career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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25 comments on “Jadeveon Clowney Eyeing Cowboys, Saints?

  1. DTD_ATL

    I’d be happy to have in Dallas on the veteran’s minimum with the potential for bonuses but nothing more.

    • Ak185

      They maybe could find a role for him on the field, but the Saints could not. New Orleans actually has something of a logjam already at the position, and given Clowney’s adeptness at the stopping the run and ineptitude at rushing the passer, he is ill suited to being a pass rushing down specialist.

      The Saints have Hendrickson, Davenport, Onyemata, Brown, and Rankins on that line, and none of them are the lead pass rusher. Rankins and Jordan will start certainly, and even if Clowney could fit under the cap, there would not be room.

      The Cowboys would likely have a role, but not really any cap. That’s also assuming that they mind taking their eye off Prescott’s negotiations for a minute to open new ones with Clowney. McCarthy said that the defense will likely have a 4-3 base this season, but we all expect him to transition to a 3-4 over time. Clowney has played in both and in various roles, but it’s still a transitioning defense and it would be hard to justify bringing in a high priced vet during a transitional period unless you knew exactly what you wanted him to do-or are Bill Belichick and specifically values versatility for versatility’s sake (and knows how to use that).

      If Clowney is looking at contending teams, his best bet cap and role wise may be back with Seattle. There are a couple of contenders that maybe could use him, but none really have cap space. Seattle has the best combination of both for him, given that he rejected the Browns and the Titans seem inactive.

      • justinkm19

        Aldon Smith, Demarcus Lawrence, Dontari Poe, and Gerald McCoy. Oh yeah, and Randy Gregory.

        • Ak185

          Yeah, that’s one player four plus years removed from quality play (or any play at all), another coming off yet another suspension, and two interior linemen. So that leaves one solid EDGE player who will certainly start. They could certainly find room. I’m not saying that they need him, by any means. But of all the contending teams, they have more room than most.

        • Mikel Grady

          justinkm19 I like it , add Clowney and trade for Adams . Super bowl bound . Ok at least nfc championship bound

    • Ak185

      Um, do you know how many EDGE defenders are making $12 million a year in the NFL? Over half of the teams in the NFL have a $15 million player at the position, let alone $12 million. An easier to write your statement would be “I don’t like Clowney and therefore will not acknowledge his football skills at all.” Any starting defensive end is worth $12 million today. Unless you think Jadeveon Clowney is not starting material, you have to rethink your statement. And if you think that, you’re just bonkers.

      • Kevskins

        Yeah but when you look at the names on that list I wouldn’t pick Jadeveon Clowney over most of them 12 million is pretty fair for a guy who never reached his potential and hasn’t had the best track history of being on the field or producing while on it. When you are a pash rusher in the nfl you get paid for sacks even if it’s not the most important stat

      • The Human Rain Delay

        Sans the off field distractions and being inj prone AK185 nailed it –

      • earmbrister

        AkAk — how many RDE’s who are being paid $12MM per, only managed 3 sacks in 2019?

        If the Cowboys are smart they take a hard pass on the potential that Clowney always promises but hardly ever produces.

        • Ak185

          Well, I would also ask how many DEs ranked top five in run defense in the NFL every healthy year of their careers? There are concerns, I agree, but production when healthy is not one of them. Pass rush is not Clowney’s strong suit, but that is only because of sack numbers. He applies plenty of pressure. On the downside, he does not have a developed set of moves to get past his initial burst and bring down the passer, but you can’t say that he does not disrupt the offense.

          As for your question, there are currently 20 DEs who have a $12 million cap hit this year. 3 of them (4 if you count Olivier Vernon, who had 3.5 sacks) had 3 or fewer sacks. So that’s about a fifth. None got as many pressures or run stops as Clowney. If we count guys who had 5 or fewer, that number goes up to I believe 7. I’m not sure how many run stops a sack is worth, but it should be a few. Especially considering some of these guys (Leonard Williams, Kawann Short) who played DE didn’t even register a full sack at all last year, and are making 15 million plus. I’m not trying to spin 3 sacks as good, it’s not, but for the value, it’s not far off, especially given the run value and pressures. I mean, J.J. Watt finished with 4 last year, only a single sack more than Clowney, and his deal is significantly than $12 million.

          10 DEs had 10 or more sacks last year, most of whom are not making $12 million. So the money won’t guarantee sack production as is. But you can see that Clowney has a history of run defense that is certain. The real question for him is injury history, not in game value necessarily. I won’t argue that, but the idea that he is not worth average money is strange given both his production and the relative production around the league for the position.

          • earmbrister

            The Cowboys already have a better LDE in Lawrence. Clowney has never had 10 sacks in a season, and has played RDE, LDE, and OLB without staking out a particular position. He’s pricing himself like an elite player and if he were such, he’d would’ve been signed months ago. He hasn’t shown that he can be a pass rush RDE (or Weakside OLB), and that is what teams will pay top $ for.

            You talk of run defense, but he only had 31 combined tackles/21 solo last year. How in the world would that rate as a top 5 run defender? As for sacks, you can’t compare a 3-4 DE like JJ Watt with a DE in a 4-3. Even so, JJ Watt beat Clowney in a down year for Watt.

            Clowney has some talent, but I wouldn’t pay him $12MM per year, and I certainly wouldn’t sign him to a long term guaranteed contract. He’s played in 16 games once in his 5+ years of starting: he’s had a problem staying on the field. He certainly flashes potential, but at some point he needs to show consistent production.

            • Ak185

              Run defense is his entire resume. Note that I said “when healthy” when mentioning that fact.

              Both Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus rated him at that level in 2018 and 2017. I am not a “premium” member or whatever they term it, so I cannot see their ratings for 2019, a year in which Clowney was again injured and ended it with a surgery. But they have him as an 87.5 at PFF, which is pretty good, for whatever that’s worth. So, yes: last year, when he was again injured (as I said, it’s a concern with him) he posted mediocre stats, but players have gotten larger extensions for less. This is particularly true when their past work is favorable, which Clowney’s run defense has been. Traded midseason to a completely new scheme and an injury is something that tends to affect stats. Sacks are great, my favorite plays in football actually, but they can be blinding. 10 sacks is equivalent is less than 2% of the number of snaps an average DE spends on the field. I am not trying to discredit the statistic, but what a DE does in those other snaps-mostly pressures and not even tackles-is more significant.

              As far as the moving position entails, that is an advantage. Who says Clowney will play LDE? Certainly Lawrence is not moving. When Clowney and Watt played together, the handful of times that they did, he played linebacker and down lineman. Again, I am not attempting to excuse Clowney’s lack of production in the sack department. But $12 million is certainly an average level deal, and less than he was making for his previous production (which was $16 million). Don’t forget, Clowney also forced four fumbles last year (equivalent to J.J. Watt’s number of sacks since he has been mentioned, and he is likely going to be extended this year). Turnovers are more valuable even sacks are-and even though one or two fumbles can be attributed to luck, four is valuable for a season.

              At this point, who is available that will disrupt an offense more? No one is. $12 million is a more than reasonable price for a contender to pay for a rental with that level of potential. You may not like Clowney, and I will agree that we’ve all expected more from him in his career. But when you watch his tape, his influence on an offense in terms of disruption is evident. It’s one of those cases where stats, as useful as they mostly are, can be misleading.

              I think we disagree on the value of a $12 million deal at EDGE. There are several studs, like Jerry Hughes, who are underpaid vets at the position. But for the most part, $12 million is a good value for a disruptive player, and Clowney is that. Tape backs it up, as do the comments of coaches and players.

  2. Dorothy_Mantooth

    Let’s face it, Clowney overplayed his free agent hand and is now in danger of having to sign a 1 year deal well below his asking price. With the uncertainty of how COVID and the potential of no fans in the stands for 2020 will impact the 2021 salary cap number, no smart team is going to offer this guy a multi-year deal with guaranteed money as there is a real chance the cap could decrease in 2021 by $20M+! Most of the ‘good’ teams have already put together their 2020 rosters and don’t have an extra $15M – $18M of open cap space right now to pay him what he wants. And those teams that have cap space may want to save side of it for in season moves. I’m sure Seattle is almost at the point where they’re ready to move on entirely from him. If that happens, he may be forced to take a $6M – $8M one year deal just to play this season. He’ll have no one to blame but himself if this happens. He’s a legend in his own mind.

    • Ak185

      I’d agree for the most part. Not being to take an in-house physical really hurt him though, given his surgery and injury concerns. He should have considered that in his demands.

  3. wagner13

    Who’s misread their market to a larger degree this offseason: Clowney or Freeman?

    • crosseyedlemon

      I think Twitter tweets would be a pretty good barometer to determine that. The more these guys use social media the more they deflate their value.

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