Despite the spate of injuries that recently affected a number of NFL defensive lines, it appears that teams aren’t showing as much interest in free agent Jadeveon Clowney as they used to.
As reported on Tuesday by Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, a number of organizations lost key defensive players to injuries in recent days, with Gerald McCoy of the Dallas Cowboys out for the season due to a ruptured quad tendon and Philadelphia Eagles linemen Derek Barnett and Javon Hargrave likely missing a few weeks of action. Robinson wrote that such a situation should stoke interest in a player of Clowney’s caliber, though that apparently isn’t the case with the former No. 1 overall draft pick, who last played for the Seattle Seahawks.
“After speaking to a multitude of sources who have taken part in a pursuit for Clowney, his suitors appear to be thinning rather than growing,” the Yahoo! Sports columnist stressed.
Earlier in the offseason, the Cleveland Browns reportedly made the best offer for Clowney in terms of contract length and value, though the defensive end would eventually turn it down. According to Robinson, it’s highly likely that the Browns will make a substantially lower offer if they decide to pursue the 27-year-old a second time as his free-agency saga continues.
Aside from Cleveland, the Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, and Seahawks apparently have some interest in Clowney at this point in the offseason, though Robinson noted that none of these teams are expected to be able to meet his supposed salary demands of $17 million to $18 million per year. He cited one of his sources, adding the Raiders have been sending mixed signals regarding their pursuit of Clowney, with their “appetite” depending on which of the team’s officials — head coach Jon Gruden or general manager Mike Mayock — is commenting on the matter.
Zeroing in on why teams appear more reluctant than ever to sign Clowney, Robinson cited three unnamed general managers, who all agreed that as the six-year NFL veteran continues to sit out, the idea of signing him to a discounted one-year contract becomes less and less appealing. One of these executives specifically noted that Clowney’s history of minor injuries — in the light of McCoy’s impending season-long absence — could be a cause for concern.
“It doesn’t have to be a major [injury] like McCoy. If [Clowney] comes in now and then has some kind of soft-tissue thing that drags on, that could be a months-long thing or even a season-long thing.”
Commenting on his expectations for Clowney in the lead-up to the 2020 NFL season, another general manager was quoted as saying he doesn’t expect him to get his desired annual salary. He added that the free agent will almost certainly need to settle for a less lucrative contract and will ultimately have to decide “whether he wants to play” or not.