With the passing of yet another Thursday, it has now been more than twelve weeks since the contract of Jadeveon Clowney expired, yet he remains one of the many unsigned free agents still looking for a place to play this season. Reports have had offers come in from the Hawks, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans, while other rumors have linked Clowney to the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints. Regardless of what the rumor mill is cranking out on any given day, NFL Insider Josina Anderson of ESPN provided the following update Wednesday.
Re latest reports on Jadeveon Clowney & #Seahawks: Was just told while Seattle remains open to Clowney returning, the economic situation has notably changed over last couple months since both sides spoke. The starting pt would be very different. Still, not in the air right now.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) June 10, 2020
There are two interesting takeaways from this very brief update. The first is the idea that “the economic situation has notably changed over last couple months since both sides spoke.” That would seem to indicate that the recent reports of Seattle having offered Clowney $15M on a one year contract are likely dated, and it would appear the team is distancing itself from that number following a number of other additions which have used up cap space. Namely, the signings of Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin used $8.925M of the Seahawks 2020 cap space, and with the majority of those contracts guaranteed, there’s little ability to walk back on them now.
That said, the second takeaway is the fact that Anderson states it has been a couple months since the two sides spoke. Given the two sides haven’t spoken, the likelihood of the Clowney watch coming to an end anytime soon is likely very low. Specifically, Seahawks general manager John Schneider and Clowney’s agent Bus Cook are both professional negotiators. They are both intimately familiar with the fact that the first party in a negotiation to speak loses, so it would appear that this is an old fashioned stand off.
Obviously different observers will interpret what they see differently, but based on that, it would seem unlikely that there is any movement on the Clowney front anytime soon. To get right to the point, Cook will likely continue to field calls regarding Clowney and his demands, but respond to inquiries about contractual demands with the invitation for a team to make an offer. Eventually, whether because of injury, player movement or something else unforeseen, some team will reach out to the Clowney camp with an offer that is acceptable. That will then start the ball rolling in terms of Cook shopping the contract around to other teams that might be interested, and likely lead to Clowney choosing where he will play in 2020 eventually.
However, as that process is unlikely to be spurred by the actions of either the Seahawks or Cook, it would seem unlikely to expect any kind of significant news on the Clowney watch in the absence of something triggering a flurry of activity.