The Dallas Cowboys have done some fine-tuning at the defensive end spot this offseason after losing 2019 sack leader Robert Quinn to the Chicago Bears. It began in April when they signed Aldon Smith to a one-year deal after a five-year hiatus. In the NFL Draft, they selected versatile edge rusher Bradlee Anae in the fifth round. They’re also awaiting word on Randy Gregory’s reinstatement, which seems likely with the league’s new CBA no longer suspending players for positive marijuana tests. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is still out on the open market.
This time a year ago, he was seeking a long-term deal with the Houston Texans, however, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks and has still yet to get the lucrative contract he was wants.
The former 2014 first-round pick does have a few destinations in mind on where he’d like to play in 2020, and according to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, the Cowboys are one of the few on his shortlist.
“I was told the two teams on top of Clowney’s list, as far as where he would like to end up, are the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints,” Pauline said. “He would definitely help both of those teams. Both of them are a little bit cash-strapped. The Saint shave less than $9M under the cap. The Cowboys are about $11.2M below the cap. So I don’t think either of that is going to be enough to bring Clowney in. They would have to do some significant maneuvering of salary in order to bring him in for a year if, in fact, those teams want him. I don’t know that they want him. I know that Clowney would like, wouldn’t mind ending up with either the Cowboys or the Saints from what I’m told.”
Clowney would certainly be an interesting addition to the Cowboys defense. Having the versatility rush from the edge in three and four-man fronts, as well as play outside linebacker in a 3-4, make Clowney an ideal fit for new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. His hybrid scheme will feature three and four-man fronts as well as a designated pass rusher when the Cowboys come out in a 3-4.
Earlier this offseason it was reported that Clowney was seeking $20 million per year, which he then lowered to $17-$18 million. If those are the kind of figures Clowney still has in mind then it’s probably unlikely he’ll end up in Dallas.
The Cowboys could do some maneuvering to make it work tho. One possibility is getting quarterback Dak Prescott signed to a long-term deal before the July 15th deadline and lowering his first-year cap hit. Also, they could part ways with veteran defensive end Tyrone Crawford and save $8 million.
Another factor in the Cowboys signing Clowney is his ability to stay healthy. He’s only played in 16 games once back in 2017 and has missed time every other season during his six-year career, including being absent for three games in 2019 and only logging three sacks for the Seahawks.
The fit is there with Clowney, but his contract demands would definitely have to be tweaked to end up on America’s Team.
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