SEATTLE — There are no balls bouncing, no bats swinging, no pucks sliding across the ice. There are no games on our home soil to wager on, and no coaching decisions to blast.
Sports are suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s not a reality that’s getting easier to adjust to. But here in the Puget Sound area we do have the Jadeveon Clowney watch. That’s something, no?
Seriously, wondering where the free-agent defensive end will land is the one thing keeping Seattleites from joining an esports league right now. Rumors about the former Seahawk is the only sports news interrupting nostalgia or list-making.
In past years, a Clowney watch would be borderline annoying. Local pundits would either be miffed that he hasn’t made up his mind, or indifferent due to all the other topics on the sports-talk buffet table.
But in these circumstances? Let’s keep the Clowney guessing game going. At least until April 23, the start of the NFL draft.
The latest talk surrounding the former first-round pick is that the Browns might be interested. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Cleveland might have made Clowney the most generous offer yet.
Xanax would become a necessity for an offensive-line coach trying to prepare for the Browns with Clowney and fellow defensive end Myles Garrett. But with a 6-10 record last year, the Browns might not quite have the resume to woo the man who asserted that he wants to play for a contender.
Like many things right now, anyone who says they know what’s going to happen with Clowney is lying. A move to the Titans, who reached the AFC Championship Game as a wild-card team last season, has been a common prediction — although on a profootballrumors.com poll, Clowney re-signing with the Seahawks was the most popular guess.
Obviously, those are just fans who don’t have inside information. But the vibe Clowney gave off in the locker room suggested he was happy during his season in Seattle. He certainly made an impression on Seahawks teammates — or at least one teammate — as evidenced by quarterback Russell Wilson’s response to a question about Jadeveon in a recent video, in which he said, “I need you, homie.”
I’ve written before that they need him, too. Though he accumulated only three sacks last year, Clowney was often the most impactful player on defense. The pick-six against the Cardinals, the superhuman effort against the 49ers, the four forced fumbles on the season — there were games where it seemed the Seahawks wouldn’t have won if Clowney was off the field.
In fact, when you look at the diminished pressure rate and sack rate when Clowney was out — not to mention some of the monster numbers opponents put up when he was injured — you start to wonder if the Seahawks would have reached the playoffs without him.
But general managers, it seems, see a player who is injury-prone and inconsistent. They see a guy who will show out on some Sundays and not on others.
This might be a break for the Seahawks, who would be able to scoop Clowney up for way under his initial asking price, Or the fact that he still hasn’t signed with them might mean he as is good as gone.
Me? I’ll take the speculation for as long Clowney wants to keep it going. I’ll wonder if the Seahawks will get tired of waiting and try to sign four-time Pro Bowler Everson Griffen instead.
I’ll wonder, as a massive-domed colleague of mine predicted last week, if the Seahawks will cut center Justin Britt and use that extra money to sign Clowney and Griffen.
I’ll wonder if the Seahawks will be able to improve upon one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year and vault themselves into title contention.
What Clowney ends up doing is trivial in the grand scheme of things, but discussing it is entertaining. And though he isn’t waiting for the sake of Seattleites’ amusement, I’ll thank him for it anyway.
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