Jadeveon Clowney remains unsigned with weeks to go before the start of the NFL season, and there appears to be more to the story than just the Seattle Seahawks free-agent’s asking price. NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks provided a bit of context on the Move the Sticks podcast for why he believes Clowney has not found the market he was expecting. Brooks noted that the perception around Clowney continues to be that he is a “lukewarm worker”.
“Bill O’Brien got blasted when he traded Jadeveon Clowney, but when you talk to some people in that building he wasn’t the hardest worker,” Brooks explained. “He didn’t want to necessarily be there at training camp. He was always looking for a way out when it came to victory Monday. Look, his reputation as being kind of a ‘lukewarm worker’, that goes all the way back to South Carolina. And so, he can talk about picking it up, but, man, can a leopard change his spots? Is it too late for us to buy into Jadeveon Clowney being the new, improved version of the guy that entered the league years and years ago?”
Brooks played in the NFL for five different teams from 1994 to 1999 and later spent time as a scout for the Seahawks and Panthers before transitioning to a draft analyst in 2007. The Seahawks did not appear too concerned with Clowney’s work ethic as they offered him a new contract, but the team (like the majority of the NFL) has not been willing to meet his asking price.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein on Clowney: ‘He Plays Hard’
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had previously noted on the podcast that Clowney appears to be in great shape and received rave reviews from those working out with him in Houston. Zierlein pushed back a bit on Brooks’ comments noting that Clowney does not appear to have an effort problem during actual games.
“What is interesting, for a guy who does have the reputation, and I’ve heard some of the same things behind the scenes, in terms of the work ethic here with the Texans as well. However, I will say, and this is to his credit, when the lights are on and the kickoff is kicked, he plays hard,” Zierlein noted. “If you watch him and isolate him on tape, he is chasing from the backside. The plays where usually guys who don’t have the great motors will gear it down, you don’t really see that with Clowney and that’s a little unusual for me based on his perceived work ethic and some of those issues.”
While Zierlein indicated that the work ethic issues are a bit overblown, he added that the free-agent market shows that Clowney’s value is not as much as the pass rusher perceives. Zierlein added that no one believes Clowney is a “bad guy” but the work ethic questions have followed him since college.
“But I think you’re hitting on something that is very important which is second contracts and guaranteed money of second contracts,” Zierlein continued. “Boy, those are usually reserved for guys who are ultra-productive or who are productive like Clowney [and] have great football character. And I think the reputation for him is he doesn’t have the great football character. He has the talent. He has the ability. He’s not a bad guy.”
The questions surrounding Clowney loomed this offseason since NFL teams were not able to meet in-person with free agents until training camp. It will be interesting to see how much Clowney is willing to take on a one-year deal from the Seahawks or another team.
Clowney’s Suitors Are Reportedly Down to the Seahawks, Raiders & Titans
According to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, Clowney’s potential landing spots are down to three teams: Raiders, Titans and Seahawks. Robinson added that the Raiders do not have agreement on Clowney’s value making the Seahawks or Titans his most-likely destination. Overall, Robinson described Clowney’s market as shrinking the closer it gets to Week 1.
“Add it all up and you basically have a three-team picture between the Seahawks, Titans and Raiders,” Robinson detailed. “And of that trio, the Titans and Seahawks make the most sense in terms of being able to add Clowney late in the preseason, because of his familiarity with the schemes and/or coaching staffs.”