Jadeveon Clowney is set to hit the free agent market next month and a couple of teams are reportedly already showing interest in his services. Per ESPN's Josina Anderson, the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts could have interest in Clowney if he hits the free agent market. Clowney recently told Anderson he would "definitely like to return" to the Seahawks, but is also "open to new opportunities if it comes down to that."
The Seahawks could prevent Clowney from hitting the open market, but Seahawks general manager John Schneider already dismissed the notion the front office would tag Clowney when he said he doesn't expect the Seahawks to use the franchise or transition tag this offseason.
"I think he came in, he loved the culture, loved the coaching staff, loves the chefs, loves our equipment guys," Schneider said. "He's a really fun guy. He's a blast to be around and I hope we can continue that. Super disruptive."
Schneider also said the Seahawks "would love to have Clowney back." Based on the Seahawks' unwillingness to use the tag at the moment, the franchise would seek to reach a long-term deal with the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end.
Allowing Clowney to test the open market is a risk considering the need for premium pass rushers in free agency. Clowney mentioned in January Russell Wilson.and Seattle qualifies as one. Seattle has made the playoffs seven of the last eight years and advanced to the divisional round in six of those occasions. They also have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in
Clowney hasn't fully lived up to the hype of being the No. 1 overall pick, but he's been productive. He has 32 sacks in six NFL seasons with 80 quarterback hits, 252 pressures and three Pro Bowl appearances. He has also graded out exceptionally well via Pro Football Focus, specifically over the past two seasons.
The Seahawks traded a 2020 third-round pick, DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo and LB Jacob Martin to the Houston Texans for Clowney in August as the defensive end finished with 31 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles, 13 quarterback hits and 47 pressures in 13 games. He was hampered for the majority of the second half of the season with a core muscle injury, explaining why the sack numbers are down. Schneider said Clowney had surgery on the core muscle injury, which shouldn't affect him for the 2020 season.
Seattle traded Frank Clark last year because the Seahawks couldn't reach a long-term deal after placing the franchise tag on him. Could they allow another premium pass rusher like Clowney leave as well?
"We have some cap flexibility this year, which is great, but it's not just about this year. It's planning for next year and the following year as well," Schneider said. "We have to be cognizant of where we're going."