We are entering Week 3 of Jadeveon Clowney watch. Unfortunately for Seahawks fans everywhere, this seems to be a stakeout without any end in sight as everything has gone silent on the Clowney front.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times intimated last week that Clowney could ride this out all the way until training camp. That would make sense for one very obvious reason.
The reality is that it seems Clowney's market has bottomed out. Now that he's already waited this long, he owes it to himself to exhibit patience until he's allowed to visit teams in person and go through physicals. That's likely the only thing that can get his value closer to the $20 million annually that he's looking for. A team would have to feel comfortable with where he's at medically, especially after coming off of core muscle surgery in January.
The money currently on the table should be there indefinitely. Even if he waits until camp in August, there will still be a team willing to offer $13-15 million for a player of Clowney's caliber. He has the benefit of not only being a tremendous talent, but he also plays at a position of extreme scarcity. That's why Clowney can afford to play this game of chicken with the Seahawks and other clubs he's been in contact with.
However, this COVID-19 pandemic is somewhat of a double-edged sword for Clowney. On one hand, it's keeping him from traveling to team facilities for official visits. There's no disputing that those limitations have shrunk his market and extended his free agent process. On the other, the longer coronavirus keeps America on a relative lockdown, the more teams will have to start planning for a potential worst-case scenario: a cancelled or truncated 2020 season.
If that fear inches closer to a reality, Clowney could find there's no market for him at all. No club would want to spend big money on Clowney in that scenario, especially on a one-year deal.
That's why Clowney, in a sense, isn't playing chicken with NFL franchises, but rather gambling that coronavirus will subside in fairly short order. President Trump already extended America's stay at home order until May 1. Should that be the end of it, there would still be about two months until the start of camp for Clowney to find a new home.
But let's be honest, nobody really knows when this is going to end… not for sure, anyway. That's why I believe that Clowney owes it to himself to sign a one-year deal in the near future. A diminished paycheck is better than the potential of no paycheck at all. Is that unfair? Absolutely. I'm of the belief that Clowney is deserving of the massive payday that he's seeking. That doesn't change the reality of the situation, though.
Clowney recently turned 27 back in February. If he has a monster season in 2020 and stays healthy, he'll hit the open market once again at age 28 and be able to capitalize on a boosted salary cap. To me, that sounds like a better option than betting millions of dollars on the timeline of COVID-19.