Despite originally saying he wanted to play for a winner, the NY Giants are rumored to be on Jadeveon Clowney’s shortlist ahead of free agency.
Well, here we go. With the free agency rapidly approaching, we’re already starting to hear rumors about where some of the top players on the market are interested in playing. Not many saw Jadeveon Clowney as a realistic option for the NY Giants, but if he truly is interested in playing for Big Blue the franchise needs to seriously investigate it.
"According to an NFL source, the Giants are one of the teams on the 27-year-old edge rusher’s wish list as he heads to free agency. But according to another source, he could be looking at a contract worth $22-23 million per year, which will likely be out of the Giants’ range."
While that $22-23M number may seem scary high, the market is constantly being reset each offseason as the salary cap grows, and with the new CBA agreement coming there’s a solid chance that contract won’t look nearly as crazy in 12 months time.
If Dave Gettleman is willing to pay Leonard Williams $10-$15M per season, he should have no problem paying this price for the much-better player and performer that Clowney is.
Paying Clowney that type of money would position him squarely in the top five of his position group with a chance that he could get up as high as the #2 highest-paid defensive lineman behind Aaron Donald. Has Clowney’s production matched that of Donald’s? No. But, when negotiating contracts with free agents, executives need to pay for what’s coming and not for what’s happened.
To some, the phenom former #1 overall high school recruit has been a disappointment so far during his NFL career. However, I’m not sure those with that opinion have spent much time actually watching him play, as he’s been at the heart of some very good defenses and constantly sets up his teammates to flourish.
Even though he only had 3 sacks in 2019 with Seattle, the Seahawks badly want him back in 2020 and beyond; what does that tell you? Seahawks GM John Schneider is as shrewd as they come and if he wants to pay Clowney after watching him play every down for a season that should be a solid indication of the type of player Clowney is.
The ‘sacks don’t matter’ club has been one I’ve argued against for quite some time, but there are surely players like Clowney that can’t be quantified by simply sack numbers alone. He’s constantly double – and even triple -teamed, yet he still dominates his reps and consistently blows up plays.
Many have pointed to the fact that he hasn’t hit double-digit sacks yet, but that’s semantics as he’s recorded over 9 twice in his career. Over 75 career games, Clowney has tallied 236 tackles, 32 sacks, 71 tackles-for-loss, 8 forced fumbles, 14 passes defended, 80 QB hits, and a staggering 4 defensive touchdowns.
Another overblown concern is Clowney’s injury history. Coming into the league with the Texans in 2014, Clowney dealt with a knee issue and the team was incredibly cautious with their #1 overall draft pick which led to him playing in just four games as a rookie. Since then, he’s played in 13 games or more every season.
Having just turned 27-years-old, the former South Carolina Gamecock’s best football is likely still in front of him; that’s saying a lot, considering he’s a three-time Pro Bowler with an All-Pro nod already under his belt.
Clowney is the type of player that can change the look of a defense overnight and he figures to fit perfectly playing defensive end in the NY Giants’ 3/4 scheme. He’s athletic enough to mix in some stand-up pass-rushing reps, as well.
So while the contract will undoubtedly look absurdly-high on paper should the NY Giants be able to sign him, it should be one of those deals that changes the overall feel of the defense and the team in general.
Right now, Big Blue lacks a true difference-maker at any level of its defense. If Jadeveon Clowney is truly interested in playing for the Giants, he’d give them one of the top difference makers in the NFL.
At the end of the day, just hearing that one of the NFL’s elite players has the NY Giants on his list is encouraging.
Hypothetical offer: 5 years/$112M ($60M GTD)