Latest On Seahawks’ Pass Rush

For months now, the Seahawks have been connected to two of the highest-profile edge defenders on this year’s free agent market, Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen. They were reportedly in on the Griffen sweepstakes, but the longtime Vikings DE opted to sign with the Cowboys, so Seattle is still on the hunt for an experienced pass rusher.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that the team does have interest in Clay Matthews, who posted six sacks in the first five games of the 2019 season — his first and only year with the Rams — but who suffered a broken jaw in October that derailed his season. Matthews is not as productive as Clowney or Griffen at this stage of his career, but he could still be serviceable as a rotational piece.

However, Rapoport believes the club may circle back to Clowney. The first overall pick of the 2014 draft has had a frustrating offseason, as he did not get offers anywhere close to the $20MM AAV he was seeking, and perhaps his most aggressive suitor, the Browns, now appear to be out of the mix. Rapoport says Clowney has not closed the door on the Seahawks, and the last we heard, the Seahawks had not closed the door on him, so a reunion could still be in the cards.

That is especially true given that the team’s second-round pick, DE Darrell Taylor, is still on the team’s NFI list. Taylor played his final collegiate season at Tennessee with a stress fracture in his shin, and after the season was over, he underwent surgery to have a titanium rod inserted in his leg. His recovery is reportedly going well, but as Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk writes, Taylor may be sidelined for another few weeks.

While the Seahawks did add Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa this offseason, bringing back Clowney makes a lot of sense. His first year in the Emerald City could have gone better, but his upside remains sky-high, and at this point, Seattle might be able to get him for something of a bargain.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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10 comments on “Latest On Seahawks’ Pass Rush

    • ayrbhoy

      I believe you’d see upside from a more productive Clowney in that Seattle system because opposing teams will now have to account for the football IQ of Jamal Adams. Although Clowney has a reputation and record of ‘taking some plays off’ the fact is he’s double-teamed on just about every sgl play. When you consider Seattle’s pass rush last yr he has nowhere to go but up and if JC continues to draw dbl teams this will only help JA, B Irwin, B Mayowa, LJ Collier, R Green and the rookie DE’s

    • Ak185

      Because not all “production” is measured by sacks. Even if Clowney does nothing statistically on a play, Matthews is rarely going to draw a double team at this point in his career.

      That said, I do not think that Seattle is the best system for a pass rusher to pile up sacks. Other than Frank Clark in 2018, they have not had a player with 12 sacks in a season this decade (and Clark has 13). They have not had a player with multiple double digit sack seasons since Chris Clemons, and his last time doing it was when they won the Super Bowl.

      In ten years, Seattle has never finished in the top five in the league for sacks, despite their great defense, and that’s including the years with the Legion of Boom. They finished in the top ten only two times, one of which was in 2016, which was a fluke year where no team had even passed 50 sacks and Seattle ended with 42. Many years Seattle did not even reach 40 total sacks in a season.

      The Seahawks as of now are not a team that produces star pass rushers. They’re just not. Frank Clark may be the closest thing that they’ve had, but he hasn’t produced many sacks himself, and if I recall correctly has a career high of 13. Seattle just isn’t a sack producing team. They want Clowney’s to draw double teams, disrupt the pocket, and stuff the run. His stats will certainly not be helped as a defensive lineman playing in Seattle, and he likely knows that. As a 27 year old with a double digit sack season to his name (half a sack away a couple years ago), he knows that he needs to prove his pass rush ability, and Seattle is not the place to do that. Plus, their low overall production from their d-linemen shows that they view them as interchangeable, and Clowney wants a long term financial commitment.

  1. bluemoonpoongoon

    I dont know how you could say Mathews is not as productive as Clowney or Everson Griffen when he Clay was able to put up 6 sacks in 5 games last season. Thats twice as many sacks as Clowney put up in 13 games last year and only two less then Griffin got in 15 games. If Mathews can stay on the field he will be plenty productive.

    • ayrbhoy

      Would he play in the same role/position in Seattle? Surely the Seahawks system would prevent him from putting up those kind of numbers. I wonder how Clay would be accepted in the clubhouse? He has taken a lot of cheap shots at Russell. That blindside block in the NFC Ch game was gruesome and the refs always seem to be looking away when Matthews is crunching RW after the plays!

    • wagner13

      Well, Matthews is a pure pass-rusher at this point, while Clowney can perform a variety of tasks and isn’t a liability against the run.

      I understand Matthews racked up a large sack tally, but keep in mind he played with Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, and Dante Fowler. Defenses had to pay attention to those players, opening up chances for Matthews. I’m not saying it’s the sole reason for his success, but he did have some difficulty posting statistics in his final seasons with Green Bay.

      Finally, Clowney is younger and more familiar with Seattle’s system. On the other hand, Matthews would be a lot cheaper

    • Datthew Millon

      That’s a great point you bring up along with the other fantastic points in this article alone. Yet my concern is also on the Rams team they’re we’re several interchangeable pieces such as Fowler Jr, Ebukam, Brockers, Littleton, and Donald drawing far more concern and attention to opponents offensive lines allowing Matthews to have more flexibility. Now not in the slightest do I think Matthews is bad but he is no longer the presence he was and Seattle is looking for that presence to be stable and draw that attention for their schemes which isn’t focally around the Defense lineman. Either acquisition would bolster their pass/run stuff.

      • Ak185

        All valid points, brought up by bother Datthew and Wagner. The question is not whether Matthews or Clowney or whomever else has been more effective as a pass rusher in the past, but what either could offer presently to Seattle’s defense.

        • Datthew Millon

          Absolutely I begin to wonder as both would obviously contribute positively the question I see now is in terms of estimated value who is worth it more considering Matthews is cheaper and older and Clowney is younger and more expensive. I stand to think Seattle would be fine as is, personally yes they could use the pass/run stuff yet I do believe the defense is stout along with bringing in familiar faces as Irvin and Mayowa should help.

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