Jadeveon Clowney

Jets Have No Interest In Jadeveon Clowney

New Jets safety Bradley McDougald says he’s love to have former teammate Jadeveon Clowney join him in New Jersey. Unfortunately for the ex-Seahawks, the Jets aren’t interested in reuniting them, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: McDougald Advocates For Clowney]

This isn’t the first time that the Jets have been linked to the former No. 1 overall pick. In April, Clowney indicated that he’d like to join up with Gang Green. The Jets have yet to reciprocate those warm feelings, even though they could certainly use an upgrade on the edge.

One could argue that the Jets have even bigger fish to fry than the edge rush unit, including their cornerback situation. They could have enough cap space to sign Clowney and address their other holes, but Jets ownership reportedly asked GM Joe Douglas to tamp down costs earlier this year. That mandate came before the pandemic, so there’s even less wiggle room for Douglas to work with now. The trade that brought McDougald to the Jets and shipped star Jamal Adams to the Seahawks further underscores their approach to spending.

Clowney’s asking price has dropped since the start of free agency, and it could fall a bit further as September draws near. Still, the Jets have no plans to get involved. As it stands, the Jets project to start Quinnen Williams and Henry Anderson on the bookends with Harvey Langi and Jordan Jenkins at the outside linebacker spots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Adams, Johnson, Clowney, Long

Joe Douglas confirmed the Jets had trade talks with several teams regarding Jamal Adams but categorized the sweepstakes-winning Seahawks as the most aggressive suitor. The Jets and Seahawks began talking weeks ago, and Seattle’s two-first-rounders-and-change offer swayed Douglas from planning not to trade his All-Pro safety to pulling the trigger (Twitter links via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano). Adams lobbed salvos at Douglas and Adam Gase, and when Douglas listened to offers for the decorated defender at last year’s trade deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link) Adams reached out to several Cowboys players to inform them of his interest in going to Dallas. This irked Jets teammates, coaches and team brass. While Douglas said he wanted to make Adams a Jet for life earlier this year, the second-year GM said this week he never promised him a contract, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).

Here is the latest coming out of Jets headquarters:

  • Although the 49ers have made some big trades under their current power structure, John Lynch said they did not call the Jets about Adams, via NBC Sports Bay Area. However, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler reported (via Twitter) involved parties believed the Cowboys and 49ers were both involved in talks with the Jets for Adams. The 49ers, who joined the Cowboys on Adams’ list of preferred destinations, re-signed Jimmie Ward this offseason and have starter Jaquiski Tartt back as well.
  • New Jets safety Bradley McDougald said Jadeveon Clowney remains interested in a deal (Twitter link). The former No. 1 overall pick expressed Jets interest in April as well. The Jets were linked to Clowney in March but, despite an apparent need for pass-rushing help, are not believed to be interested in the three-time Pro Bowler. Adams finished as Gang Green’s second-leading sacker in 2019.
  • Douglas convinced Ryan Kalil to unretire and become the Jets’ starting center last season, so reports of him being in talks with recently retired guard Kyle Long earlier this year carried a bit more weight. But Douglas said those talks were merely friends catching up. Douglas spent 2015 in the Bears’ front office prior to leaving for Philadelphia. That said, Mehta notes the two indeed discussed Long unretiring. The Jets re-signed Alex Lewis and added Greg Van Roten to a guard group that includes longtime starter Brian Winters.
  • Amid larger headlines involving current U.S. ambassador to Great Britain Woody Johnson, the Jets owner was reported by CNN to have made racist and sexist comments during his time as an ambassador. Johnson has denied the allegations, which prompted a State Department investigation. Following the report, however, acting Jets owner Christopher Johnson called almost every player on Gang Green’s roster to listen to their concerns, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes.

Titans Still “Monitoring” Jadeveon Clowney

Will Jadeveon Clowney find a new home in Nashville? Titans GM Jon Robinson continues to play coy on the situation, though he did tell ESPN’s Dianna Russini (Twitter link) that the team is still “monitoring the situation.” 

Robinson added that he “may or may not” have had contact with Clowney’s camp in the last week – a not-so-subtle hint that the two sides have had recent talks. In the past, Robinson has indicated that he wants a thorough and in-person physical performed on Clowney before potentially signing him.

“Anytime you are dealing with whatever the contract is going to command, you want to make sure that the player is healthy, that you are able to allow your doctors to see him, to look at it, to make sure everything is going to be good,” Robinson said.

The Titans put at least one offer on the table for Clowney earlier this year, but the former No. 1 overall pick rejected it. The Seahawks, Raiders, and Browns also saw their offers declined. The Browns reportedly offered Clowney the best multi-year deal of any club this year, but that opportunity has gone out the window. Earlier this month, the Browns reworked Olivier Vernon‘s deal to give him $11MM in guaranteed cash, solidifying his spot as the bookend opposite of star Myles Garrett.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Williams

Two players linked to the Cowboys in recent weeks are not in the team’s plans, it appears. Jadeveon Clowney has the Cowboys and Saints at or near the top of his figurative list, but the pass rusher who has been connected to nearly half the league this offseason is off Dallas’ radar, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes. That also applies to David Njoku, the Browns tight end connected to the Cowboys after his trade request surfaced recently. The Cowboys signed Aldon Smith and have Tyrone Crawford and four recent draft picks joining DeMarcus Lawrence at defensive end. They also are looking likely to carry Dak Prescott‘s $31.4MM cap number on their books this season, limiting funding for a Clowney deal. At tight end, the Cowboys lost Jason Witten but extended Blake Jarwin. Beyond Jarwin, however, the team is fairly thin at this spot.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • One member of the Cowboys’ D-end contingent may not have a chance to supplement Lawrence. The Cowboys have continued to hope for the NFL to reinstate Randy Gregory, but as of Monday, Hill adds that the team has largely given up on this notion. The NFL banned Gregory indefinitely for substance abuse, and although the new CBA’s suspension structure is focused more on PEDs, the former second-round pick was suspended four times under the previous CBA’s discipline structure. Despite being drafted in 2015, Gregory has played 28 career games.
  • Returning to the Clowney news cycle, the free agent edge rusher wants to join a winning team, veteran Seattle-based NFL reporter John Clayton said during an ESPN 97.3 radio interview (via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.radio.com), adding that the Eagles will appeal to the free agent. Clowney’s hesitance about the Browns stemmed from their modern history as a losing team; his Dolphins reluctance did as well, Clayton adds. The Eagles were unwilling to approach Clowney’s lofty asking price earlier this offseason, but with the Browns bowing out and the Seahawks not expected to match their previous offer, his price may now be reduced. And Philadelphia has not been shy about loading up along its lines.
  • Although the Giants plan to pay at least $16.1MM to see if Leonard Williams fits into Patrick Graham‘s defensive scheme, they have not given up on a long-term fit. Big Blue and Williams did not come close on an extension agreement, but Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes the team can still see a Williams accord coming to pass after the 2020 season. To secure the kind of money he seeks, Williams will need to improve on his half-sack (in 15 games) showing of 2019.
  • The Eagles are ready to increase T.J. Edwards‘ role. Despite the second-year player arriving in the league as a UDFA, the Eagles are penciling him in as their starting middle linebacker, Shorr-Parks notes. A Wisconsin alum, Edwards played just 11% of Philly’s 2019 defensive snaps. But the Eagles cut Nigel Bradham and do not have a host of high-profile names at linebacker. The team did draft two linebackers — in Rounds 3 and 6 — this year, however. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made this a bad year for rookie development.

Browns No Longer Pursuing Jadeveon Clowney?

Now that the Browns have reworked the contract of defensive end Olivier Vernon, Cleveland is likely out of the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes, a source tells Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

[RELATED: Browns Sign First-Round Pick Jedrick Wills]

The Browns are one of several teams known to have actually offered a contract to Clowney. Cleveland reportedly was willing to pay Clowney up to $15MM on a one-year deal, and also gave the veteran pass-rusher his best multi-year proposal.

Instead, the Browns will now retain Vernon and play him opposite Myles Garrett at defensive end. Cleveland isn’t interested in signing another veteran like Everson Griffen or Clay Matthews, so the club will likely roll with internal options such Adrian Clayborn and Chad Thomas in reserve.

With the Browns bowing out of a pursuit, Clowney’s market continues to dwindle. Once though to be assured of landing a hefty multi-year pact, Clowney will now almost assuredly have to accept a one-year offer.

The Raiders and Titans have both made offers to Clowney and could still sign the former No. 1 overall selection, and a return to the Seahawks isn’t out of the question, although Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reported the Seahawks won’t offer the $15-16MM they once were proposing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Monitoring Jadeveon Clowney, Stephen Gostkowski

The Browns may be out of the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes, leaving the Seahawks and Raiders as the the arguable frontrunners for his services. But don’t count the Titans out just yet. In a Periscope/Facebook Live conversation with PaulKuharsky.com, GM Jon Robinson talked about what a useful asset Clowney would be to Tennessee’s front seven and how he would complement the talent already on the roster.

But Robinson also reiterated that he wants to have team doctors examine Clowney before he moves forward in his attempts to sign him. While Robinson acknowledged that the former No. 1 overall pick looks good from what he has seen on social media, there is obviously no substitute for an in-person evaluation.

“Anytime you are dealing with whatever the contract is going to command, you want to make sure that the player is healthy, that you are able to allow your doctors to see him, to look at it, to make sure everything is going to be good,” Robinson said.

Those comments are noteworthy in light of the fact that the Titans were previously reported to have made multiple offers to Clowney earlier this offseason. Assuming those reports were accurate, it seems as if Robinson may have been willing to bring Clowney in on a fairly low-risk deal without a medical examination, but if he is going to make a sizable commitment, he needs to be assured that Clowney is in good health.

Robinson also said that the team would consider taking a look at veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The longtime Patriots stalwart was released by New England in March on the heels of a 2019 season that was largely wiped out by a left hip injury. The Titans are currently rostering Greg Joseph, whom they signed off the Panthers’ taxi squad in December, and UDFA Tucker McCann. Robinson conceded that the PK job is Joseph’s to lose, but he would be amenable to bringing in Gostkowski to provide some worthy competition.

Gostkowski, 36, said in April that he has no plans to retire, but this is the first time we’ve heard his name since then. His 87.4% field goal percentage is the fifth-best of all time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Clowney, Cards, Giants, Panthers

A notable development transpired in Jadeveon Clowney‘s near-fourth-month free agency odyssey Tuesday. The Browns’ Olivier Vernon restructure points to them giving the Vernon-Myles Garrett pairing another year and bowing out on Clowney. This would eliminate a high-paying suitor from the sweepstakes. The Seahawks remain in the running for Clowney, but Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes they are not going to offer a deal in the $15-$16MM-AAV ballpark like they did earlier this offseason. Seattle’s offer in this neighborhood occurred several weeks ago, but the team is still in need at edge rusher. Clowney now has an offer in hand from the Raiders, but they were viewed as a “distant third.” However, with the Browns perhaps out, the Raiders may have moved up to second. At just more than $13MM in cap space, the Seahawks hold more than the Raiders ($8MM).

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins lined up as teammates for the first time, with the new Cardinals duo joining several teammates in Texas for a workout. Despite the NFLPA issuing directives for players not to gather for workouts, as the COVID-19 pandemic sets records (with Texas being a hot spot) in recent days. But other teams — most notably the Buccaneers — have seen select personnel conven for pre-training camp work. The Cards’ workout took place nearby where Murray went to high school, just north of Dallas.
  • Seahawks second-round pick Marquise Blair will compete with Bradley McDougald for the team’s starting strong safety job, opposite Quandre Diggs, but Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes the second-year player is also a candidate to be Seattle’s nickel back. Blair played just 219 snaps as a rookie, though Pete Carroll said he is “very interested” in getting him on the field this season. Ugo Amadi, a 2019 fourth-rounder, will serve as Blair’s primary competition for Seattle’s nickel role. Amadi played just 76 defensive snaps as a rookie.
  • The Giants hired their first female scout, naming Hannah Burnett as their Midlands scout. Burnett’s most notable NFL experience came with the Falcons, for whom she attended pro days and the Combine. In addition to Burnett, the Giants named Marquis Pendleton their northeast area scout and added Nick Williams as an offensive assistant. Pendleton has worked in a different scouting capacity with the team since 2016; Williams spent the past three seasons as Southern Illinois’ wide receivers coach.
  • The Panthers did not renew the contracts of scouts Don Warren and Clyde Powers, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Both staffers were Dave Gettleman hires. Warren was a three-time Super Bowl champion as a tight end with the Redskins, for whom he also worked as a scout prior to his Panthers stay.

Raiders Enter Jadeveon Clowney Mix

Add another team to the fluid Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes. The Raiders have made an offer to the free agent edge defender, per The Athletic’s Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed (subscription required).

While the Raiders are interested in the former Texans and Seahawks starter, they are believed to be in a “distant third place.” It is unclear the teams in front of them, but based on the Seahawks and Browns being the only teams connected with Clowney offers, they would add up as the leaders. Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan was the first to report of the Raiders’ Clowney proposal (on Twitter).

Jon Gruden looks to be driving the bus for Clowney in Las Vegas, per Lammey. The Raiders used first- and fourth-round picks to address their defensive end spots last year — in Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby — and have 2018 third-rounder Arden Key and recent free agency addition Carl Nassib set to be role players in this group as well. A three-time Pro Bowler, Clowney profiles as a higher-end talent — even though his sack numbers (32 in six seasons, including just three in 2019) do not match his reputation.

The Browns and Seahawks have both pitched Clowney deals worth around $15MM. Clowney is believed to be on the fence regarding a Cleveland stay, but he has not ruled it out. And the Browns have multiyear and one-year proposals still on the table. It is not known if the Seahawks’ reported offer is still out there, but given Seattle’s pass-rushing depth chart, it would make sense if the team were still trying to bring Clowney back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Aren’t Interested In Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

The Browns are still showing interest in Jadeveon Clowney, but they’re not quite as keen on the market’s other top edge rushers. Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews do not seem to be on their radar, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.

[RELATED: The NFL’s Top 10 Available Edge Rushers]

Griffen’s market has been slow to develop so far. Earlier this summer, he was linked to the Cardinals, but there hasn’t been any movement on that front, to our knowledge. Griffen, 32, has 74.5 sacks to his credit over ten NFL seasons. And, since Clowney came into the league in 2014, Griffen has registered 55 sacks. Still, Clowney is six years younger and the Browns likely see him as having better upside for 2020.

Matthews, 34, racked up eight sacks in 13 games (all starts) last year, despite missing some time with a broken jaw. In the interest of equal time, the sacks may not tell the whole story – Matthews had just 11 QB hits in 2019, similar to his 12 QB hits in 2018 with the Packers. In his final season with Green Bay, Matthews finished out with just 3.5 sacks.

Ultimately, it sounds like the Browns are open to replacing Olivier Vernon as their No. 2 DE, but only if they can find an edge rusher who represents a clear upgrade. And, from the sound of it, Clowney is the only available pass rusher who fits the bill.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top Edge Rushers Still Available

Putting pressure on the opposing quarterback is critical to a team’s success in today’s NFL, and there are a number of players still languishing on the free agent market who are capable of doing just that. While the pandemic has understandably made teams leery of authorizing big-money contracts, some of the available talent can be had for a fairly minimal commitment, and it would not be surprising to see them come off the board as we get closer (hopefully) to training camp.

So let’s take a look at the best of the unsigned pass rushers.

  1. Jadeveon Clowney: Not many players have been in the news more than Clowney this offseason. By now, everyone knows that Clowney was seeking a multi-year deal with an AAV of at least $20MM when free agency opened, but he has had to modify his demands in a big way. The Browns are believed to have two offers on the table: a one-year pact worth $15MM, and a multi-year contract worth around $12MM/year. Cleveland does not seem to be high on Clowney’s list of preferred destinations, but the club does have the makings of a postseason contender. It will be interesting to see if another team tries to top the Browns’ proposals to land a potentially game-changing talent.
  2. Everson Griffen: Back in May, Griffen was rated as our No. 3 best available free agent, and he would be the No. 2 talent on that list today now that Cam Newton has signed with the Patriots. Shortly after the list was published, we heard that the Cardinals may be interested, but nothing has transpired on the Griffen front in the last six weeks. The 32-year-old showed that he still has plenty left in the tank after registering eight sacks in 2019, and the fact that he is still unsigned may indicate that his contract demands are too high right now.
  3. Ezekiel Ansah: The Seahawks paired Clowney with Ansah in 2019 with the hopes of creating a true two-headed pass-rushing monster. That did not exactly work out as planned, as Clowney managed just three sacks and Ansah posted 2.5 while playing in 11 games. Ansah just couldn’t regain the form that he displayed during his best years with the Lions, and it certainly seems as if he does not have another double-digit sack campaign in him. Still, he is another year removed from the shoulder injury that marred his 2018 season and delayed his 2019 debut, so he will surely get a chance to be a part of someone’s pass rush rotation in 2020.
  4. Michael Bennett: Bennett wants to play in 2020, but thus far, it doesn’t sound as if there has been much interest in his services. The three-time Pro Bowler enjoyed a nine-sack effort with the Eagles in 2018, but he was traded to the Patriots in March 2019 and clashed with New England brass. In October, the Pats shipped him to the Cowboys, for whom he posted four sacks in nine games. In total, he collected 6.5 sacks last year while playing fewer snaps than he is accustomed to. He may very well start to attract more interest once camp gets underway.
  5. Markus Golden: No one other than the incumbent Giants has expressed interest in Golden since free agency began, and it seems like the 29-year-old will be back with Big Blue in 2020. The Giants put the rarely-used UFA tender on him, which means that he will only be eligible to play for New York if he does not sign another offer prior to the start of training camp (presently scheduled for July 28). Though Golden posted 10 sacks in 2019, he did so off of just 26 pressures, which teams likely see as an unsustainable conversion rate. The UFA tender would pay Golden $4.125MM this season.
  6. Jabaal Sheard: Sheard has never quite lived up to his potential as a game-changing pass rusher, and the 8.5 sacks he totaled in his rookie season in 2011 remain a career high. But he has averaged over five sacks per season over the course of a mostly-durable nine-year career, and he still looks the part of a starting DE. Fresh off a reasonably productive three-year stint with the Colts, Sheard has not yet been connected to any club this offseason.
  7. Clay Matthews: Matthews opened the 2019 campaign with his hair on fire, posting six sacks in the first five games of the season. It appeared that the two-year, $16.75MM contract the Rams gave to the longtime Packer in March 2019 was going to pay off in a big way, but Matthews suffered a broken jaw in October that derailed his season. He picked up two more sacks the rest of the way, and LA cut ties with him earlier this year. There have been no public reports of interest in the 34-year-old, but he could be a valuable veteran presence if deployed in the right way.
  8. Vinny Curry: Curry has always been a situational pass rusher. Even when he started all 16 regular-season games for the Eagles in 2017, he played in just over half of the club’s defensive snaps. His one year in Tampa Bay in 2018 was not a smashing success, but he returned to Philadelphia in 2019 to reprise his role as a player who can come in on passing downs and who represents a legitimate threat to get to the quarterback. The Jets were said to be interested in him in March, and Gang Green could still use pass rushing help, but the two sides have not yet come together on an agreement.
  9. Terrell Suggs: Suggs’ career accomplishments stand head and shoulders above those of most everyone else on this list. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and seven-time Pro Bowler has 139 career sacks to his credit, but he finally started to slow down in 2018, his final year in Baltimore, and he looked the part of an aging defender during his 13-game stint with the Cardinals in 2019. Arizona cut him late last season and he was scooped up by the Chiefs, which allowed him to collect his second Super Bowl ring. It’s unclear if T-Sizzle has any interest in continuing his playing career, but he has nothing left to prove.
  10. Cameron Wake: Another player that would be higher on this list if not for his age, Wake was released by the Titans in March. The 38-year-old has said he wants to keep playing, but after a terrific run with the Dolphins from 2009-18, Wake’s one year with Tennessee did not go according to plan. He registered just two sacks in nine games and missed the final stretch of the season with a back injury. He might well be healthy now, but we are unaware of any teams with interest at this point.