“Pass rusher” Jadeveon Clowney played twice against the LA Rams last season, his first and potentially only season with the Seattle Seahawks, and as usual his impact was mixed. Clowney had zero sacks in either contest, recording five tackles total, plus two QB hits, one forced fumble, and one tackle for a loss in the first meeting. But overall, Clowney’s season with the Seahawks has to be classified as disappointing no matter how you slice it — so long as those slices aren’t the laundry list of excuses about why he and his teammates were so unproductive — and the 27-year-old former number one overall pick has remained a free agent for well over a month.
That could finally change on Monday, April 27th, the first day in which a team won’t lose anything in the compensatory pick formula if they sign Clowney. It also means that Seattle won’t receive any comp picks if Clowney signs elsewhere, a conclusion that everyone assumed was foregone when the Seahawks traded for him last September from the Houston Texans.
It is looking exceedingly likely that unless Seattle re-signs Clowney, they’ll have nothing left from the trade they made for him last year. Could the Rams take interest?
At this point we know that LA is low on funds, as they basically have no cap room and still must sign their rookie class, among other things. I can’t help but wonder if the Rams would be second-guessing the one-year, $10 million contract to Leonard Floyd if they could instead get Clowney on a one-year, $15 million deal or something similar. I am thinking at this point that Clowney could do no better than a one-year deal that gives him an opportunity to go into free agency on a high note rather than this:
Three sacks. 13 QB hits. Seven tackles for a loss. Four forced fumbles. More injuries.
Clowney did seem to care a little more deeply in the second half of the year, recording 3.5 sacks, seven TFL, and 13 QB hits in his final eight games, including two postseason contests. Many have noted that Seattle lacked talent around Clowney, but we know that there are players like Aaron Donald who transcend the reliance on superior teammates to their left and right; Clowney is a good player, but at this point we should all be able to accept that he’s nowhere near the level of a defensive God like Donald.
It could be that because some people still talk about Clowney, the number one overall pick in 2014, like a God-level defensive player that he actually went into the market believing that he’d get offers similar to that of Donald. It would seem that he hasn’t. Perhaps not only because of his disappointing campaign with the Seahawks, but the fact that no team other than Seattle has been able to give him a physical. That could be another reason that Clowney and teams will wait.
But you can only wait so long and we know that the Rams do have a propensity for adding veteran stars such as Ndamukong Suh, Eric Weddle, and Clay Matthews to support Donald. Clowney was at his best next to J.J. Watt, what would he look like next to Donald, Michael Brockers, A’Shawn Robinson, and Floyd? That may not seem possible now but we also know that Jared Goff is apparently willing to adjust his $36 million 2020 cap hit. The team could also find savings with a Jalen Ramsey contract extension.
It would be a lot of work to do for a player who also costs you the opportunity for a third round comp pick — LA is in line to receive a third for Dante Fowler and a fourth for Cory Littleton, further emphasizing their need for a linebacker — but that won’t be an issue as of Monday.