NFL Free Agency, Seattle Seahawks

Will Jadeveon Clowney get the money that he wants?

Will anyone pay Jadeveon Clowney what he commands in his free agency?

Jadeveon Clowney remains one of the marquee players in the NFL without a contract.

The former No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans back in 2014 spent a forgettable season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2019. While he did have some success in their postseason run, Clowney had the Seahawks promise they wouldn’t use the franchise tag on him. Doing so would have netted him around $18 million for 2020, which would have been his best decision in hindsight.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Confora reported Monday the best-offer-on-the-table deal Clowney and his camp rejected from the Cleveland Browns was worth only $12 million annually. Clowney and his representation are looking for closer to an annual mark of $17 million, down from his initial asking price of $20 million.

Has Clowney grossly overplayed his market and will some team pay him closer to what he wants?

Who is going to pay Jadeveon Clowney the money he thinks he is worth?

Looking at the salary cap space around the NFL, only 13 teams have the financial means to give Clowney $17 million annually for 2020. Even though Clowney rejected the Browns’ reported offer of $12 million, they still look to be the front-runners for him, as Cleveland has the most available cap space for 2020 at roughly $37.4 million. They can pay him more than $12 million this year.

There’s no way Bill O’Brien is bringing him back to the Houston Texans, so cross them off and that gives us a dozen theoretical destinations. Cleveland is the best bet at this time, but will anyone else step up to the plate?

Interestingly enough, all three of the Texans’ division rivals have the cap space to bring Clowney aboard. Could a return to the AFC South be in his future?

The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t likely because they are rebuilding and it doesn’t seem like a good fit for Clowney and his camp in 2020. As for the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him land at either spot. The Colts can win the division this year and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel used to be Clowney’s defensive coordinator in Houston.

Right now, Cleveland, Tennessee and Indianapolis feel like the likeliest landing spots for Clowney in that order. If we want to extrapolate it out to five teams, let’s add the Philadelphia Eagles and the Buffalo Bills in for argument’s sake. The Eagles can contend for a Super Bowl this year. Buffalo is poised to be the third-best team in the AFC. Adding Clowney to either defense only helps them.

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Ultimately, Clowney will not get the $17 million annually he covets now. While not settling for the $12 million mark with Cleveland just yet seems to be a good move, let’s see if he can get closer to the $17 million he now wants in the $15 to $16 million range. Cleveland is still the best bet, but any of the five potential suitors mentioned will vie for the playoffs, something he’s interested in.

Clowney will play for someone next year, but it will have to be on a discounted deal in his eyes.

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