The New York Jets freed up $11 million in salary-cap space after Trumaine Johnson's contract came off the books. Johnson was released in March with a post-June 1 designation and carries $4 million in dead cap this season and $8 million in dead cap next year.
Don't expect the Jets to use that influx of cap space to sign free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, however.
According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, "while the Jets-Clowney speculation has lingered throughout the offseason, the truth is they have never had serious interest—and their position hasn't changed even with $11 million in cap relief from Johnson."
Cimini added that the team's second-year general manager, Joe Douglas, "doesn't do big, splashy signings."
Clowney would fit the bill of a splashy signing. The 27-year-old has never quite lived up to being the top overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Houston Texans, but he's undoubtedly a threat off the edge, with 32 sacks, 71 tackles for loss and 80 quarterback hits in 75 career games.
When Clowney is playing at the top of his talent, he's a menace. The issue is that he doesn't always hit those heights. As Cimini noted, "price tag, injury history and modest production last season as a pass-rusher have caused his market to plummet. There's also concern about his motor."
That's how arguably the most talented defensive end on the market has remained a free agent into June.
Some of that might be perception over actual performance, though. Despite posting just three sacks last year, Clowney still rated as Pro Football Focus' No. 80 overall player during the 2019 season:
"For the majority of the season, Jadeveon Clowney was repeating the career year he had a season ago, but he tailed off badly in the final weeks of the season and into the playoffs. At his best, Clowney was a game-changing force and had multiple games with an overall PFF grade above 90.0. He notched 58 total pressures over the entire season, had three forced fumbles and even an interception. Clowney once again showed the kind of potential he has and was particularly effective against the run, which has been his specialty since entering the league."
Clowney might not register the sack numbers that teams like to see when breaking the bank for an edge-rusher, but there's little doubt he's impactful. It appears, however, that he isn't impactful enough for Douglas and the Jets.