Appearing on NFL Network, former Cleveland Browns All-Pro offensive tackle-turned-analyst Joe Thomas predicted that free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will sign with the Cowboys.
“I think the Cowboys are the team that is going to land Jadeveon Clowney,” Thomas said Tuesday, 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.”
The best edge rusher on the open market, Clowney has no shortage of suitors and no shame in his financial wants — “something in the $20-million-a-year range,” according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
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 extension ($105 million total value) that Dallas gave DE DeMarcus Lawrence last offseason.
Teams interested in Clowney include the New York Giants, where the 27-year-old prefers to play, and the Seahawks, who are “making attempts” to bring him back. Seattle began free agency with roughly $44 million of salary-cap space before the club retained fellow DL Jarran Reed on a two-year, $23 million deal.
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.
If added, Clowney would step in as an immediate starter opposite Lawrence, likely forcing “overpaid” Tyrone Crawford off the roster. He’d be the out-of-house replacement for Quinn, who converted his 11.5-sack season — most among all Cowboys defenders — into a five-year, $70 million contract, including $30 million guaranteed, with the Chicago Bears.
The Cowboys entered Monday with approximately $74 million in cap room, a chunk of which was allocated to franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott and newly-minted $100 million wide receiver Amari Cooper.
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Cowboys Reportedly Shoot Down Rumor
Well, that didn’t take long. Minutes after video of Thomas’ remarks hit Twitter, local beat reporters received word that Dallas is not interested in splurging on Clowney.
It may be that the Cowboys don’t want to invest so heavily at the position, which would explain why they’d let Quinn walk supposedly after an aggressive attempt to secure his services for 2020. Or the team is focused, for now, on its in-house free agents.
Starting defensive linemen Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins currently are unsigned, along with key backups Michael Bennett, Daniel Ross, Christian Covington, and Kerry Hyder. Bennett, Collins, Hyder, and Covington are unrestricted free agents, while Woods is an exclusive-rights free agent and Ross a restricted free agent.
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