Seahawks Reveal Decision on Jadeveon Clowney’s Franchise Tag

Seattle Seahawks

Getty Jadeveon Clowney has yet to make his free agent decision.

For months, it has been speculated that the Seahawks reached some sort of gentlemen’s agreement not to franchise tag Jadeveon Clowney prior to acquiring the pass rusher from the Texans. Seahawks GM John Schneider confirmed the Seahawks would not franchise tag Clowney in an interview with Seattle’s Q13 Fox.

“We traded for Jadeveon,” Schneider told Fox Seattle. “Part of our deal with them was we weren’t going to franchise him. I think he liked his experience, our staff knows him. Our trainers, our sports science people know how to take care of him, our strength and conditioning guys [as well]. I think he had a great experience. It’s just going to be a process, right? You know, with his agent, especially down here at the combine. Trying to figure out where his market lies.”

Schneider was asked if Clowney deserves to get a major payday with his sack numbers being down last season. The Seahawks GM downplayed the idea of Clowney wanting to “set the market.”

“How do we know what he is looking for [financially]?” Schenider asked in the interview. “…He’s an extremely disruptive player. I think everybody would say they would want to set the market, right?…He’s a heck of a player. We were lucky to acquire him. We’re appreciative of Bill O’Brien working with us, getting through that with us.”

Why Won’t the Seahawks Franchise Tag Jadeveon Clowney?

There are sure to be fans that wonder why the Seahawks will not franchise tag Clowney. The agreement not to tag Clowney does not appear to be anything formal so technically the Seahawks could still do so. There is little incentive for the Seahawks to go back on their word and burn bridges with agents by tagging Clowney. This would drastically hurt the team’s chances to sign players this offseason and in future free agencies.

Also, this would only keep Clowney under contract with the Seahawks for one more season and the team would unlikely get optimal production from a disgruntled star. We are far from done with rumors surrounding Clowney’s future, but the Seahawks bringing back the pass rusher appears to come down to one key item.

Don’t Count Out the Seahawks From the Clowney Sweepstakes Just Yet

Clowney’s free agency depends on perception versus reality. Clowney is likely moving on from Seattle if there is a team willing to give Clowney a long-term deal starting at more than $20 million per season. That said, it is unclear if the reports about Clowney’s asking price is anything other than his agent trying to gain leverage when he hits the open market.

Fans already received a mini-preview of free agency when teams had the opportunity to trade for Clowney prior to last season. It was the Seahawks who were willing to make a deal and give up assets for the pass rusher. It is also important to remember that NFL contracts work differently than the NBA.

The reported contract numbers are often not what a player ends up seeing as they are not required to be fully-guaranteed like their basketball counterparts. The Seahawks could offer Clowney more guaranteed money as a trade-off for a lower annual salary which would give the Seahawks more cap flexibility to add additional pieces in free agency.

Schneider has confirmed that the team will ask Clowney for the right to match any offer. The Seahawks have maintained their desire to re-sign Clowney proving they are willing to open up their checkbook if the price is right. There is always a chance an opposing team can go rouge and offer Clowney a massive contract. It is important to remember that not all NFL contracts are created equal, so don’t rule out the Seahawks’ ability to get creative in a new deal for Clowney.

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