Jadeveon Clowney

AFC North Notes: Bullock, Hunt, Browns

The Bengals claimed K Austin Seibert off waivers from the Browns, and when that happened, most assumed that incumbent Randy Bullock would be placed on IR, or perhaps even released. However, head coach Zac Taylor said he expects Bullock to stay right where he is. “Randy’s our kicker,” Taylor said. (Twitter link via Ben Baby of ESPN.com).

Cincinnati suffered a difficult Week 1 loss against the Chargers, and Bullock shanked a 31-yard field goal try that would have sent the game to overtime. He also appeared to injure his left calf on the kick — though some are skeptical — but Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported that the injury isn’t serious (Twitter link). In fairness to Bullock, he did make a 50-yarder and a 43-yarder earlier in the game, and he converted his only PAT.

The Bengals take on Seibert’s former employer in a divisional battle tomorrow night.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • The Browns recently handed running back Kareem Hunt a two-year extension, and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com has a few details. As previously reported, the new money can max out at $13.25MM, and Hunt will take home base salaries of $4MM, $1.3MM, and $1.35MM over the next three seasons. The remaining money will come via roster bonuses designed to make sure that Hunt keeps himself out of trouble. One is tied to his making it to training camp without incident, one is tied to his making it to Week 1 without incident, and one is tied to his making it to the end of the season without incident. He will also receive weekly 53-man roster bonuses.
  • In the same piece linked above, Cabot reports that the Browns were indeed the team that would have been involved in a Jadeveon Clowney sign-and-trade with the Saints. In the proposed deal, which the NFL nixed, Cleveland would have signed Clowney to a one-year, $15MM contract, including a $5MM signing bonus. The team would have then shipped Clowney to New Orleans in exchange for a second-round pick and a player.
  • Cabot further notes that the Browns should be getting CB Greedy Williams back soon. Williams missed the team’s Week 1 loss to the Ravens with a shoulder injury but is not expected to land on IR.
  • The Steelers placed right tackle Zach Banner on IR yesterday.

Texans Tried To Sign Jadeveon Clowney

Before he signed with the Titans, the Texans reached out to Jadeveon Clowney to gauge his interest in a reunion, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Ultimately, Clowney was not interested in returning to his longtime employer.

[RELATED: Texans Sign Watson To Four-Year Extension]

Clowney didn’t leave on the best of terms, but the Texans didn’t want to pass up the chance to improve their edge rush. They also didn’t want to leave an open lane for Clowney to join up with their divisional rivals. After being rebuffed, they’ll now face their former No. 1 overall pick twice per year. The Texans weren’t alone in that thinking, according to PFT’s Mike Florio. He hears that the Seahawks – Clowney’s last club – wanted to keep Clowney away from the Saints. Ditto for the Jaguars and Ravens, who wanted to block the Titans.

Chess game aside, the Texans’ interest in Clowney is an indication that they’d like to upgrade in the front seven. As it stands, Charles Omenihu is set to play opposite of J.J. Watt at defensive end. At outside linebacker, Whitney Mercilus and Brennan Scarlett are slated to start, with DE/OLB shuffling along the way.

In other Texans news, Deshaun Watson is now locked in through 2025 thanks to a four-year, $177MM+ extension. Patrick Mahomes still leads all QBs (and players) with an AAV of $45MM, but Watson’s $39MM AAV now ranks second among QBs to top the likes of Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, and Jared Goff.

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NFC South Notes: Saints, Clowney, Bucs

Before Jadeveon Clowney signed with the Titans, the Saints attempted to orchestrate a sign-and-trade in order to land the star edge rusher — but the NFL put the kibosh on such a maneuver, as Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com write. In the proposed scenario, an unidentified team (widely believed to be the Browns) would have signed Clowney to a one-year deal with a $5MM signing bonus and a $10MM base salary.

Clowney then would have been dealt to the Saints in exchange for a second-round pick, per the NFL scribes. The mystery team would have absorbed the $5MM signing bonus on its salary cap, giving the cap-strapped Saints the breathing room they would have needed in order to acquire Clowney. But the league office gave word it wouldn’t approve a deal that amounted to trading cap space.

“We felt like we got close,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter link). “We weren’t able to match the money, and that’s one of the challenges every year. Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley) did a great job working with (Clowney’s agent).” The Ravens may have also attempted a sign-and-trade strategy to land Clowney, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk indicates Baltimore tried to arrange a similar strategy involving the Jaguars. Tennessee ultimately landed Clowney on a one-year, $13MM pact that includes $2MM in incentives.

  • Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans is dealing with a hamstring injury and could be a game-time decision for Sunday’s tilt against the Saints, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Evans ended last season on injured reserve with a hamstring issue, but he hadn’t missed any time during camp, so the injury must have flared up recently. If Evans is forced to miss Week 1, Chris Godwin could see even more targets than usual, while Justin Watson and Scotty Miller would likely become more involved in Tampa Bay’s offense.
  • The Buccaneers‘ backfield split became extremely murky following the addition of Leonard Fournette, but head coach Bruce Arians says Ronald Jones is still the club’s starter, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Of course, Arians has been anything but fully truthful when it comes to running back touches over the years, but Jones should at least get the first snap of 2020. Arians said Fournette will have a “situational role” in Week 1 (Twitter link via Pewter Report), while LeSean McCoy should still be a factor on passing downs. Tampa Bay also worked out a number of running backs, including veteran Kenjon Barner, earlier this week, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com.
  • Saints owner Gayle Benson has thankfully recovered after contracting COVID-19 in August, as Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk writes. The 73-year-old Benson was not forced to spend any time in the hospital while quarantined, and was still able to take part in team business.

Jadeveon Clowney To Sign With Titans

Just a few days before the start of the 2020 regular season, Jadeveon Clowney finally has a new home. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Clowney is signing a one-year deal with the Titans that is worth at least $12MM and that will max out at $15MM (Twitter link).

Though Clowney’s name has been a prominent part of the NFL news cycle all offseason, his market really started to pick up within the past week or so. It was reported at the end of last month that the Ravens had emerged as the frontrunners for his services, and then we learned that the Titans and Saints were pushing to sign him. The Seahawks and Browns were among the other clubs that expressed legitimate interest during Clowney’s lengthy stay on the market.

According to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com — who first reported last night that Clowney was planning to sign with Tennessee — the Saints’ offer came in about $2MM lower than the Titans’ proposal (Twitter link). Dan Graziano of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that New Orleans really wanted to get a deal done and even talked to veterans already on the roster about reworking their contracts to create cap room. Graziano says Seattle continued to monitor the situation but ultimately felt that a $12MM minimum payout was too rich (Twitter link). And per Albert Breer of SI.com, Clowney wanted to sign with Baltimore, but the Ravens were perhaps more lukewarm on the idea than was reported (Twitter link).

As opposed to most of the other teams that were connected to Clowney, the Titans have been involved in the process all along. They extended an offer months ago and never stopped their pursuit. Given the presence of head coach Mike Vrabel — the Texans’ LB coach and defensive coordinator during Clowney’s first four years in Houston — and Tennessee’s relative proximity to Clowney’s South Carolina home, the Titans always felt like a logical fit.

Clowney, 27, is not without his detractors. The No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft battled injuries in the early part of his career, and he underwent core muscle surgery this offseason. For months, teams could not bring him into their facilities to evaluate him due to COVID-19 restrictions, and (fair or not) it seems that health concerns will always be a part of his resume.

There is also the issue of his lack of sack production to consider. Clowney has never posted double-digit sacks in a season, and he mustered just three with the Seahawks last season. On the other hand, Clowney supporters will point to his ability to disrupt a passing game even without gaudy sack totals, and he can be a menace against the run as well. He earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2016-18, and the Titans hope his familiarity with Vrabel’s defense will help him return to that level of play.

It may take Clowney and fellow free agent acquisition Vic Beasley a week or two to get fully up to speed. But once they do, they will team with Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons to form the foundation of an intriguing front seven, one that could certainly help the Titans get back to the postseason.

Clowney did not get the massive multi-year contract with a $20MM AAV that he was seeking when free agency opened, but he will have a good chance to improve his stock with the Titans. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Titans have agreed that they will not use the franchise tag on Clowney next offseason. That same provision was worked into his Seahawks deal after he was traded to Seattle last year and may have ultimately cost him several million dollars, but he is clearly willing to bet on his ability to land a long-term pact with significant guarantees. With the 2021 salary cap expected to decrease, though, even a career-best showing this year might not be enough to get him that type of deal next offseason.

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No Decision Yet For Jadeveon Clowney 

While some reports have connected Jadeveon Clowney to the Titans, the free agent edge rusher says that he has “still not made a decision,” (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson). Clowney says “teams are still calling,” making it clear that he’s still weighing opportunities from multiple teams. 

The Saints and Titans have emerged as the frontrunners for the former No. 1 overall pick, but the Ravens and incumbent Seahawks are said to still be lurking. For months, the Titans have stood as one of Clowney’s most logical landing spots. With a clear need at DE, old pal Mike Vrabel patrolling the sidelines, and more cap flexibility than most clubs, the Titans make tons of sense. Still, they’re far from the only contender who could use more pressure against the pass.

Interestingly, Clowney has canned agent Bus Cook, just as he did over Labor Day Weekend 2019. Eventually, they worked out their differences and went back into business together. It remains to be seen whether another reunion will take place or if this will signal a return tour in Seattle.

Clowney’s sliding asking price has been well documented at this point. After asking for ~$20MM/year in March, Clowney has reportedly scaled things back to the $17MM/year neighborhood. The Browns tried to sign him for $15MM earlier this year, but the 27-year-old quickly rejected the offer.

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Seahawks, Ravens Still In Mix For Jadeveon Clowney?

4:34pm: Clowney has not closed the door on a Seattle return yet. While the Saints and Titans are leading the way at this point, the Seahawks sit third on the former No. 1 overall pick’s list, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The Seahawks were believed to have offered Clowney a deal worth around $15MM earlier this year, but as of late, the team is not believed to want to pay up for the standout defender.

3:34pm: Conflicting reports regarding the Ravens’ interest have surfaced. They are not, as of now, pursuing Clowney, according to Pro Football Talk. John Harbaugh did offer a vague statement Saturday indicating the team would have interest in a player of Clowney’s caliber, however (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley).

2:38pm: The Saints and Titans have emerged as the frontrunners for Jadeveon Clowney. Both teams have made strong pitches to sign the three-time Pro Bowler. But they are not the only teams pursuing him.

The Ravens loom as a wild card in this mix, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. While Baltimore has been linked to Clowney at multiple points this offseason, the reigning AFC North champions have not been viewed as aggressive suitors. However, the team still being in pursuit at this juncture is certainly notable.

A serious Ravens push for Clowney transpired a few weeks ago, per Fowler, who notes the Seahawks are not completely out of the running. However, they view their 2019 starter’s asking price as too high and are more in the monitoring stage at present.

Baltimore franchise-tagged Matt Judon and added defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe this offseason. But the Ravens relied extensively on blitzes for pressure last year and could use a bookend opposite Judon.

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Latest On Jadeveon Clowney

As Jadeveon Clowney zeroes in on his next gig, he’s let go of his agent. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the defensive end has fired agent Bus Cook.

Does this sound familiar? Last year during Labor Day Weekend, Clowney fired Cook as his agent. The two ended up reconciling, and the franchise-tagged pass rusher was later traded from the Texans to the Seahawks. It sounds like there won’t be another reunion, however, as Clowney is expected to “eventually hire” Kennard McGuire for representation.

Meanwhile, as Clowney continues his free agency tour, Florio reports that the Saints brass visited the player in Houston. An image on Instagram showed Clowney posing with head coach Sean Payton, and the message indicated that two other Saints coaches attended the meeting. For what it’s worth, Clowney subsequently “liked” that post, which was posted by a chef at a restaurant.

We learned yesterday that Clowney could end up waiting until next week to sign a contract. By waiting for the roster deadline to pass, the veteran could find that suitors are operating with more financial flexibility. The Saints and Titans currently have offers out to Clowney, setting the stage for a high-priced bidding war. The Ravens have also been mentioned as a potential suitor.

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Jadeveon Clowney To Wait Until Next Week To Sign?

Business is starting to pick up for Jadeveon Clowney, but he won’t necessarily rush to sign his next NFL deal. The defensive end’s camp has advised him to wait for Saturday’s roster deadline to pass before signing, Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Saints, Titans Pushing To Sign Jadeveon Clowney]

By waiting, Clowney could tap into a larger pool of available dollars. He may also see one or two new unexpected suitors, if a projected starter gets dropped between now and Saturday afternoon. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword – the waiting game could actually hurt him if another valuable veteran joins him on the open market.

The Saints and Titans have offers out to Clowney, setting the stage for a high-priced bidding war. Both teams want the former No. 1 overall pick to sign by Monday, but he’ll ultimately dictate the timetable. Clowney, 27, will need to go through the necessary COVID-19 protocols before joining his future teammates.

The Ravens may also get involved, though the finances are a bit tricky. In terms of cap space, the Titans are in the best position of any known suitor with $22MM+ available. The Saints, meanwhile, will have to work some magic – they’ve got less than $7MM in spendable dollars.

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Saints, Titans Pushing To Sign Jadeveon Clowney

The Titans look to have company in their pursuit of Jadeveon Clowney. The Saints are now be in the mix, with ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini reporting both New Orleans and Tennessee are making strong pushes to sign the Pro Bowl pass rusher (Twitter link).

Clowney has listed New Orleans as a place he would like to land, while Tennessee has been one of the teams most closely linked to the former No. 1 overall pick this year. On Friday, head coach Mike Vrabel confirmed that the Titans have an offer out to the edge rusher, though he declined to go into further detail (Twitter link via Jim Wyatt of the team website). Add the Jaguars to the mix as well, per Russini (on Twitter). While Pete Carroll did rule out a Clowney signing, Russini adds the Seahawks still view Clowney’s price tag as too high.

This could mean a high-stakes bidding war for the Titans, who have monitored Clowney for months. But the Saints are throwing an all-out attack at Clowney, per Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who note Sean Payton has spoken to the free agent defender multiple times about a deal (Twitter link).

Both teams want Clowney under contract by Monday, Russini adds, noting Titans and Saints players and coaches are acting accordingly by attempting to persuade the former No. 1 overall pick (Twitter link). This would put him in position to clear COVID-19 protocols and be in uniform for Week 1. This now makes two straight years the 27-year-old talent has skipped training camp.

The Titans hold $22MM-plus in cap space; the Saints possess less than $7MM. However, New Orleans has approached multiple veterans about restructuring to free up room, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

While two unnamed teams remain in the Clowney mix, per NFL.com, the Saints entering the equation would be significant given Clowney’s previous interest and the team’s status as a Super Bowl frontrunner. The Saints have added Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins to a roster that already stood as one of the NFL’s best. Clowney would join a defensive front that already houses All-Pro Cameron Jordan and former first-round pick Marcus Davenport.

It is unclear if Clowney has dropped his price at the 11th hour, but that would make sense given the apparent acceleration of his market. The former Texans and Seahawks edge player sought a $20MM-per-year deal, then lowered it later in the spring. The Browns and Seahawks offered Clowney deals in the $15MM-AAV ballpark. The Ravens and Raiders have also been mentioned as Clowney suitors as well. The Browns redid Olivier Vernon‘s deal over the summer and have not been viewed as strong Clowney pursuers since.

The Titans may be growing frustrated with the three-time Pro Bowler, who apparently has been difficult to pin down recently. He would join Harold Landry and the recently signed Vic Beasley in Tennessee. The Seahawks would seemingly need Clowney most, but they have stood pat with lower-profile edge rushers all offseason. However, Seattle waited until roster cutdown day to reform their pass rush around Clowney last year. Regarding Jacksonville, Clowney may not be especially interested given his rebuffing of a trade to rebuilding Miami last year.

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Titans Frustrated With Jadeveon Clowney

A recent report indicated that the Ravens may be the frontrunners for free agent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, but the Titans — who, unlike the Ravens, actually offered Clowney a contract earlier this year — continue to lurk.

Tennessee GM Jon Robinson said back in July that he was still monitoring the Clowney situation, but he wanted to get the former No. 1 overall pick in the Titans’ facility for a physical. So while Robinson may have been willing to bring Clowney in on a fairly low-risk deal without a medical examination, he needs to be assured that Clowney is in good health if he is going to authorize a significant contract.

However, it seems that Clowney has been hard to pin down. In an interview with 102.5 The Game this morning, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports said that the Titans are frustrated with the “lack of engagement” on Clowney’s part (h/t Joe Rexrode of The Athletic on Twitter). Tennessee still wants to bring him in for a physical, but for reasons that are presently unclear, Clowney — who has posted videos to social media suggesting that he is fully healthy — appears reluctant.

Robinson goes on to say that the Titans or Seahawks, not the Ravens, will be the team to land Clowney. In either case, he will sign a contract worth around $12MM per year, a far cry from the $20MM that he was shooting for at the outset of free agency.

The Titans have always looked like a good fit given the presence of head coach Mike Vrabel — the Texans’ LB coach and defensive coordinator during Clowney’s first four years in Houston — and given the club’s need for another pass rusher. The team did take a flier on Vic Beasley and will return Harold Landry, who posted nine sacks in a promising sophomore effort in 2019, but Clowney could provide a major boost to the Titans’ defensive front.

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