Inside the Raiders' Interest in Jadeveon Clowney
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr.
Henderson, Nev. -- Word spreads quickly in the NFL anytime there is a significant move involving a well-known player. It goes even faster, like a rumor in a high school bathroom when it involves the Raider Nation.
As word began to leak that the Raiders had made an offer to former Houston Texan and Seattle Seahawk Jadeveon Clowney, Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven spoke to several team officials who weighed in one the report that the Raiders have pursued Clowney. They requested anonymity, so they could speak freely of an opponent.
One NFC high-ranking team official said: "I heard about it (Raiders interest) a few weeks back. Mike (Mayock) and Jon (Gruden) aren't stupid. It was or will be, a highly incentivized offer. When he wants to play, he is the best, but that is the problem. For the money he wants, you have to want to play all the time."
Another NFL general manager said: "Those guys (Mayock and Gruden) got a good thing going. Clowney's coach dogged him coming out of college for lack of a consistent motor. Maxx Crosby is in year two. Thirty-six tackles last year and 10 sacks. Played all 16 (games). Clowney played in 13, had 31 tackles and three sacks. You ain't paying Clowney big jack unless it is incentives," said the GM. "At best he is your second bests defensive lineman behind Maxx and even if he lives up to the hype, I wouldn't trade Maxx for Clowney and you will automatically have to restructure and extend Crosby after two years."
So while people around the league like Clowney, they, unlike fans, know his value.
One AFC scout said it best: "If you can get him on a contract he has to earn with incentives, you do what the Raiders are doing. If you can't, you don't risk a solid young team. All professional athletes have egos and every one of them is going to judge their deal and production to him. Any speculation that they would bet the farm is from people that don't know Jon (Gruden) or Mike (Mayock)."
One AFC team official very familiar with Clowney and the Raiders said: "Clowney is a good guy, just not motivated all the time. The old Raiders might have done this deal at all costs, but not the way they are now. If you can get him on an incentive deal, you take it. Good guy with a high upside. If you can't, in their situation, you stay away."
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