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NFL Free Agents 2020: Contract Predictions for Jadeveon Clowney, Top Stars

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIMarch 31, 2020

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Although the pool of available NFL free agents continues to get smaller, there are still some big names on the market. And that includes a trio of former No. 1 overall draft picks.

Cam Newton (2011), Jadeveon Clowney (2014) and Jameis Winston (2015) are among the best players available nearly two weeks into the free-agency period. That may not be the case for too long, as each will likely continue to draw interest from teams before signing a deal for 2020 and potentially longer.

With these three top players still on the market, here are predictions for where each will land, and for how much, later this offseason.

     

Jadeveon Clowney, DE

If Jadeveon Clowney is going to sign with a team soon, it will likely be because he agreed to a deal with a lower average annual value than what he was previously seeking.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Monday that the Seahawks' offer to bring Clowney back is around $18.5 million per season, which is slightly lower than what the 27-year-old defensive end was seeking.

"I think they're in the ballpark there with what they want to do; it's just they're sort of waiting for him," Fowler said, according to 247Sports.com's Chance Linton. "He's probably not going to get the $20 million that he wants, so he's got to decide will he take Seattle's offer or will he wait for somebody else to swoop in?"

It's possible that another team won't enter the picture, so expect Clowney to return to Seattle at its price. However, he'll do so on a short-term deal so that he can prove himself on the field in 2020 and potentially get a bigger payday next offseason.

Prediction: Seahawks, one year for $18.5 million

     

Cam Newton, QB

Mike McCarn/Associated Press

Cam Newton has plenty to prove moving forward after he was limited to two games last season because of a foot injury and then released by the Panthers this month. In 2015, Newton was the NFL MVP and led Carolina to the Super Bowl, so he'll need to prove he can still play at that level.

Because of that, it wouldn't be surprising to see Newton sign a short-term deal with a team, especially because there aren't many still seeking a starting quarterback for next season. And those who are will likely be addressing the need in the upcoming NFL draft.

Newton will have to settle for less than the $16.2 million he made last season, but there will likely be incentives in the deal should he get on the field and have success. That could lead to more teams having interest in 30-year-old, especially those who have an inexperienced starter.

It would make sense for the Broncos to add Newton, as Drew Lock has only five games of NFL experience. If Lock struggles, then Newton could get an opportunity. And if he plays well, that could lead to more teams having interest next year, similar to the path that Teddy Bridgewater took back to a starting job.

Prediction: Broncos, one year for $10 million

      

Jameis Winston, QB

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Although Spotrac puts Jameis Winston's market value at $26.7 million per season, it seems unlikely at this point that he'll get a contract that big from a team this offseason.

Like Newton, Winston may be heading for a backup role before getting another opportunity to lead a team's offense. He won't be going back to Tampa, as the Buccaneers signed Tom Brady to a two-year deal, so the Florida State product will be joining a new franchise for the first time in his career.

There should be teams interested in Winston, although they may be waiting for his price to drop before offering deals. But there are some good potential fits for the 26-year-old out there, and one of them could be the Jaguars.

While Gardner Minshew II will be Jacksonville's starter, he is still unproven and could have some struggles in 2020. That makes the Jags a potential good landing spot for Winston, who will need to use any opportunities to show that he can cut back on interceptions after throwing an NFL-high 30 last season.

Prediction: Jaguars, two years for $35 million

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