Jadeveon Clowney Rumors: Free Agent Could Wait for Summer to Sign New Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney in action against the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Jadeveon Clowney remains unsigned, and the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end may continue to take his time before making a decision.

The Athletic's Jay Glazer reported Tuesday that he was told by a source Clowney "wanted to wait perhaps as late as the summer."

"That may change but that's the last I had heard," Glazer wrote. "He's in a similar situation to [Cam] Newton where it actually may be smarter to wait until teams and their medical staffs can see the players firsthand to ensure they are healthy. If they are deemed fully healthy, that helps their market."

The NFL indefinitely halted team physicals during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it impossible to properly evaluate any free agents who have question marks regarding their health.

The aforementioned Newton underwent both shoulder and foot surgeries in 2019, while Clowney battled a sports hernia in December that ruled him out for three games. He had surgery for the problem in February.

Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26

Free agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (@clownejd) working at @PlexAthlete in Houston: “Whoever I sign with is gonna get the best version of me..I know what I got to do to get where I need to get.” (Hasn’t ruled out the @Seahawks): “I love Seattle..I love everybody on the coaching staff” https://t.co/Al0dbbKQcG

The durability concerns go beyond the 2019 season as well. Only once (2017) has the 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick stayed healthy for a full year since entering the NFL in 2014.

ESPN's Booger McFarland also questioned whether his on-field profile will make it difficult to collect the kind of payday he'll want:

Booger @ESPNBooger

Everyone is alarmed Clowney isn’t signed. NFL pays a premium if u can rush the passer Clowney has 32 sacks in 6 years. That’s not 20 million a year production. He is a better run defender than pass rusher and that’s a primary reason why he’s unsigned

ESPN's Dianna Russini reported in April that Clowney was willing to sign for $17-18 million annually, down from his initial asking price of $20 million-plus per year. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN followed up to report the 27-year-old was open to a shorter contract, which would allow him to rebuild his value:

Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN

From @SportsCenter with @JayHarrisESPN: Source close to Cam Newton says QB willing to stay patient, possibly until after draft and beyond to find right fit; Jadeveon Clowney still considering shorter term deals. https://t.co/9gq89xgZ4m

His continued unemployment would seemingly indicated that price remains too rich for any interested suitors.

One could argue Clowney forfeits more leverage the longer he lets his status drag on since he'll need to sign at some point. The Houston Texans ran into this issue when shopping him around last offseason. They waited so long that they ultimately had to accept pennies on the dollar.

Having said that, gaining a clean bill of health would presumably allow Clowney to earn more on whatever deal he gets. Maintaining a deliberate approach to his next move could pay off, even if it doesn't result in a monster contract.