The three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, the best edge rusher on the open market, is seeking “something in the $20-million-a-year range,” according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, as the second wave of free agency begins.
Consequently, the Cowboys “are not among the teams” currently in the Clowney sweepstakes, NFL insider Aaron Wilson reported Friday.
This bursts the bubble of many a Dallas fan hoping he’d take his talents to the Lone Star State, a possibility first conjured up by former Browns All-Pro tackle-turned-analyst Joe Thomas, who predicted Clowney would sign with the silver and blue.
“I think the Cowboys are the team that is going to land Jadeveon Clowney,” Thomas said Tuesday on NFL Network, via RJ Ochoa of Blogging The Boys. “They just lost Robert Quinn. They’re looking for somebody who can make an impact on that defense because they think they have a championship roster everywhere else.”
A decorated college sensation and a good (but arguably not great) pro, Clowney has collected 236 tackles (172 solo), 32 sacks, 14 pass breakups and nine forced fumbles across six seasons. He appeared in 13 games for Seattle in 2019, following a trade from Houston, and notched 31 tackles, four FFs, three sacks, three PBUs, an interception, and defensive touchdown, earning Pro Football Focus’ No. 10 overall grade for edge defenders.
Spotrac.com estimates Clowney will ink a six-year, $120.3 million ($20.05 million annually) contract, aligning him with the $21 million-per-year ($105 million total value) extension that Dallas gave DE DeMarcus Lawrence last offseason.
Clowney was seen as a potential shoo-in replacement after the Cowboys lost reigning sack leader Robert Quinn and starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins to the Chicago Bears and Las Vegas Raiders, respectively. The club somewhat offset the departures by inking ex-Bucs star DT Gerald McCoy to a three-year, $20 million contract.
Despite their disinterest in breaking the bank for Clowney and allocation to franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott ($33.5 million) and newly-minted wide receiver Amari Cooper ($100 million), the Cowboys have $24.131 million in remaining salary cap space, 11th-most in the league — more than the Seahawks ($18.296M) and Giants ($15.346M).
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Cowboys ‘Open’ to Adding Mammoth Ex-All-Pro DT: Report
Clowney appears to be a no-go. Everson Griffen, too. But Dallas may have a Plan C up their sleeve as it pertains to bolstering the defensive line.
Mike Fisher of SI.com reported Saturday the Cowboys are “open to the idea” of signing free-agent nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison, who has a home in the Dallas area, and who fanned the flames with a cryptic tweet.
Harrison was most recently a member of the Detroit Lions. He made 15 starts for the club last season, notching 49 tackles, three passes defensed, and two sacks. In 2018, he collected 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks across 10 appearances (nine starts).
Prior to his Detroit stint, Harrison spent three years with the Giants. His tenure, spanning 39 games from 2016-18, ended with 162 combined tackles (106 solo, 17 tackles for loss), eight quarterback hits and four sacks.
More run-stuffer than pass-rusher at 6-foot-3, 350 pounds, Harrison entered the NFL as a 2012 undrafted free agent, signed by the New York Jets, for whom he made 48 starts, 193 tackles (105 solo, 12 for loss), seven QB hits, and 1.5 sacks.
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