The Seahawks pulled off a stunning trade to begin the NFL cutdown on Saturday, acquiring Pro Bowl defensive end / linebacker Jadeveon Clowney from the Houston Texans.
A league source confirmed to the Seattle Times the Seahawks were acquiring Clowney. The NFL Network first reports, with others confirming that Seattle will send a third-round pick 2020 and linebacker / defensive ends Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin to the Texans.
The deal was almost immediately hailed as a major win for the Seahawks not only in upgrading their pass rush – one of the team’s biggest question marks – but in getting Clowney for little cost. Seattle could have two third-round picks 2020 – its own, and a projected compensatory pick for losing Earl Thomas in free agency – while Seattle was perceived as likely to release Mingo, who was due to make $ 3.4 million in base salary 2019, while Martin projected as a backup / rotational player who was a sixth-round pick in 2018.
A league source had previously confirmed to the Times that the deal was “close” to happening, with talks progressing far enough that it could get pending physicals for the players involved (Martin was already reportedly already in Houston while Clowney was said to be on his way to Seattle, where he would sign his franchise tag to allow the trade to occur and then take a physical hit.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson provided some additional confirmation of the trade with a tweet Saturday morning featuring a picture of Wilson and Clowney shaking hands after a 2017 game in Seattle and stating, in part, “Welcome to the squad, bro!”
The 26 – year-old Clowney was the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and has made the Pro Bowl the past three seasons and would add a pass-rushing complement to Ziggy Ansah , who signed the team as a free agent in the offseason.
Clowney, also a superb run defender, has 18 acks sacks the past two seasons. Ansah, who made the Pro Bowl in 2015, signed a one-year deal worth up to $ 9 million in May. Ansah did not play in the preseason while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and then suffered a groin injury while conditioning early in camp. But he returned to practice last week and Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the team expects him to be ready for the opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 8.
Seattle’s pass rush was a question mark in the spring after Clark’s trade while the Seahawks would also have to play their first six games without tackling Jarran Reed, who was suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Seattle could use Clowney at either its rush end / LEO position or as a five-technique defensive end spot. With Ansah out in the preseason, Seattle started Cassius Marsh at rush end and Quinton Jefferson at five-technique end position. Seattle drafted L.J. Collier in the first round in April to also play the five-technique end position. But he didn’t play in the preseason due to a high ankle sprain.
The Clowney acquisition gives Seattle four players on its front seven who have made a Pro Bowl – Clowney, Ansah and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Also on the front seven is linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who has been a starter in the NFL since 2012, with Reed and Emerging second-year player Poona Ford as tackles (with veteran Al Woods likely to start his first six games in Reed’s absence).
As Seattle did with Clark, Houston placed a franchise tag on Clowney in the spring hoping to then work out a long-term deal. Seattle getting one done and traded Clark.
Houston, meanwhile, had reached a stalemate with Clowney, who had not signed his tag or reported, and had begun to explore trade options last week.
Miami was originally thought to be Clowney’s favorite but Clowney was reportedly not willing to play for Miami under rebuilding mode under first-year coach Brian Flores – Clowney essentially had veto power because he could not be traded until he signs his tag.
It was reported earlier in the week that Clowney preferred to play, instead, for either the Seattle or Eagles teams of possible suitors.
Talks with the Seahawks appear to have progressed seriously over the last 24 Hours after Clowney made it clear he would not go to Miami.
Clowney will play the season 2019 season on the terms of the tag, which will pay him $ 15 9 million with NFL rules banning him from negotiating with the Seahawks again until after the season. The Seahawks will have to take all of that $ 15. 9 million on their 2020 salary cap – Seattle entered the day with just over $ 21 million in cap space. But Seattle will earn an additional $ 4.2 million in Mingo back-to-Houston cap space trading
And a source said uncertainty over Clowney’s future does not bother the Seahawks, who see Clowney as a potential finishing piece to a team that won 10 games last season and hopes to compete for the NFC West title this year and are in full “win now” mode after re -signing quarterback Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner to contract in the offseason that made them the highest-paid players in the NFL at their respective positions.
The Seahawks are thinking they can work something out with Clowney next season, but if not, they could tag Clowney again next year and potentially trade him – as they did with Clark – or Let him walk as an unrestricted free agent and potentially get a third-round pick as compensation in 2021.
Speculation about a possible trade grew overnight when the Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown – who is close to Clowney after playing with him in Houston from 2014 until Brown was traded to Seattle in 2017 – posted a tweet at 11: 22 p.m. Friday with six pairs of inquiring eyes.
Saturday morning brought confirmation that a deal had indeed been struck.
Bob Condotta: 206 – 515 – firstname.lastname@example.org;on Twitter: @bcondotta.Bob Condotta covers the Seahawks for the Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout the year.