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There’s still little to indicate the Seahawks are interested in a trade for Jadeveon Clowney

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NFL: Houston Texans at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In recent days, trade talk surrounding Texans defensive lineman and former first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney has picked up. Clowney, who has yet to sign his franchise tender, holds all the leverage. While Houston head coach Bill O’Brien was busy winning another power struggle, the July 15 deadline for franchise tagged players to sign an extension came and went. Any team who employs Clowney in 2019—be it the Texans or another—will do so knowing the game-wrecker can hit the open market in the spring. Despite Clowney’s obvious, tantalizing physical talent, there is an element of risk for any team interested in acquiring him.

The Seattle Seahawks have been one of the teams consistently mentioned in Clowney trade whispers, but is there any reason to believe they’re interested?

Reasons to think Seattle’s interested in Clowney

The biggest reason to believe the Seahawks are interested in Clowney is the man who would be pulling the trigger, one John Schneider. Not only do they, as a front office, have a penchant for big acquisitions—Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham and Sheldon Richardson come to mind—but Schneider’s said publicly they try to be in on everything. Here’s what Schneider said about their involvement in league-wide trade talks, during the 2017 offseason:

“We listen. We listen to everything you would think. We’re in a lot of stuff. We try to pride ourselves on that. I think I’ve told you guys before we walk away from 98 percent of the deals that we’re involved with or talking about. But at least we know that we’ve knocked down their door, we’ve gone in there and checked it out. We’re not just going to assume. We always just have to constantly be thinking about the organization and how we’re going to move it forward.”

It would seem, based off that quote, that Schneider and Seattle has at least checked in on the cost of acquiring Clowney.

The second reason to believe the Seahawks might be interested, and certainly the reason they’ve been connected by national reporters, is the lack of pass rush currently on the team. Frank Clark’s trade and Jarran Reed’s suspension will have vacated 27.5 of the team’s 40 sacks in 2018 to open the ‘19 season. The oft-injured Ezekiel Ansah needs to lead the way, and he only just began to practice on Wednesday. A dominant, outside-in pass rusher is available, and Seattle has a void in his position. Seemingly easy dots to connect.

Reasons to think Seattle’s not interested in Clowney

The most obvious reason to believe the Seahawks aren’t interested in a trade for Clowney is, well, we’ve been given no indication they are during what has been a highly publicized story. On Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson reported the Dolphins’ interest in Clowney, and mentioned that while Miami wants Clowney, he prefers Seattle or the Eagles. There was no word that the Seahawks felt the same.

Clowney’s status as a franchise tagged player yet to sign the tender means he can speak with other teams—as long as they’ve been given permission. The Dolphins received that permission. The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta reported Seattle has yet to have been given permission. One could assume should they want permission, they would be granted it.

On Wednesday evening, Wilson followed up with a new report that in an effort to reach a conclusion of the Clowney saga, the Texans had begun reaching out to the teams he is interested in—following his reluctance to sign an extension with Miami. Per Wilson, Houston had reached out to the Seahawks, among other teams, but those talks didn’t advance. Which would seem to be further evidence the interest is not mutual between Seattle and Clowney.

With the tangible evidence of a lack of interest in Clowney on the Seahawks’ end in mind, we can move on to the more theoretical evidence. Though Clark’s departure from Seattle is a part of the reason people want to connect Clowney to the Seahawks, couldn’t that logic work the other way, too? Seattle just dealt away a player they spent an entire season talking up as a new leader on their defense, only to trade him to avoid paying a monster extension (the Chiefs ended up giving him $105.5M over five years). Just months after doing so, it would be odd for the Seahawks to acquire Clowney and either make him the highest paid defender in the NFL next spring, or see him walk for nothing (except for a compensatory pick, maybe).

I posed a question close to what’s outlined above on Twitter on Tuesday—why trade Clark only to bring in Clowney?—and the consensus seemed to be the net positive in draft assets they would likely come out with. And that’s fair! But Schneider and Seattle just got through, and corrected, a grueling couple of years where they were missing (or had to recoup) high draft picks due to trades. It pained Schneider to no end. So while what would essentially be a Clowney-Clark swap would likely see the Seahawks come out with a positive gain in draft assets, are Seattle and Schneider going to be eager to start shedding high picks again? They love to take big swings, but we have plenty of reason to believe they love building through the draft even more.

All of this isn’t to say the Seahawks absolutely will not acquire Clowney. Maybe in a day or two, while making final decisions on the 90-man roster, John Schneider and Pete Carroll come to the conclusion it’s worth the risk, that Clowney would immediately upgrade their entire defense, and that they would like that season of an in-house evaluation before pursuing him in free agency, anyway. Perhaps they’ve been interested all along, but with the leaks coming from the Texans side, as well as Clowney’s team, we’re only hearing of interest from those sides. That’s all possible, but as of now, we have very little to indicate the Seahawks are interested in acquiring Clowney, despite his apparent interest in coming to Seattle.