Still unsigned as the calendar turns to April and growing increasingly frustrated by his diminishing market, Jadeveon Clowney now looks open the idea of revisiting a long-term contract at a cheaper price point.
Collaborating with a report by Dianna Russini of ESPN, sources indicated to the Seahawk Maven that Clowney will be willing to consider deals in the $17-18 million range, a significant decrease from his previous demands. The Seahawks, Titans, and Jets all remain in the running for his services.
Expected to be one of the jewels of this year's free agent class, Clowney and his representatives went into the new league year believing he would net a mega-deal eclipsing $20 million per year. Once he hit the market, his camp anticipated a bidding war would only drive up the price.
However, the 27-year old Clowney's market never materialized as envisioned for multiple reasons. Some teams were scared off by his notable injury history, including microfracture surgery back in 2014. That situation has further been magnified by travel restrictions due to COVID-19 preventing him from undergoing physicals with team doctors.
Other potential suitors weren't open the idea of opening up the checkbook and paying such an exorbitant rate for a player who has never produced double digit sacks in a season and had just 3.0 sacks last season in Seattle.
As a result, when free agency kicked off with the legal tampering period on March 16, the offers Clowney thought he would receive didn't come. Unable to hit the jackpot as he hoped, he started considering short-term deals at a far cheaper salary than the initial $18.5 million per year deal Seattle offered between the combine and free agency.
With circumstances rapidly changing due to the coronavirus and the number of competitors vying for his services dwindling early in free agency, Clowney's representatives attempted to drum up interest in their client to no avail. Teams plucked other pass rushers off the free agent shelf such as Robert Quinn, Dante Fowler Jr., and Vic Beasley instead.
As for the Seahawks, they've held firm with a short-term deal reportedly in the $13-14 million range. Without the ability to back load the contract for salary cap reasons, general manager John Schneider was never going to approach the $20 million per year mark on a one or two-year pact.
While waiting for Clowney to make a decision, Seattle has also been active filling other needs, including trading for cornerback Quinton Dunbar and signing four offensive linemen. This has tightened up cap space, creating questions about Schneider's ability or willingness to throw another lucrative four-year deal Clowney's way.
Now that Clowney appears to be accepting the fact he's not valued by the league as he thought he would be, negotiations remain ongoing. He's still weighing the merits of taking less on a one-year deal and going through this process again next spring with hopes of garnering a much better market.
There's also the possibility, if a team like the Seahawks or Titans sweetens the pot to come close to his revised price point, he will take the deal and sign on for the long haul.
Regardless, it still remains up in the air when this bizarre situation will reach a resolution. The latest reports suggest Clowney will make a decision sooner rather than later, but until he finally signs the dotted line, the light at the end of the tunnel still seems far out of sight.