Source: Clowney to sign tender, join Seahawks
The Seahawks were still in need of pass-rush help after signing Ezekiel Ansah in May to help account for the loss of Frank Clark, who was traded to Kansas City. Defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who had a career-best 10.5 sacks last season, is suspended for the first six games. Ansah returned to practice last week and is on track to play in Seattle’s opener.
The Seahawks were projected to have two third-round picks in 2020, including a compensatory selection for letting Earl Thomas walk in free agency, and 10 picks in all. They also got an extra second-rounder in the Clark trade, meaning they still have four picks in the first three rounds after sending one of their third-rounders to Houston.
Fox Sports first reported that a deal had been agreed to.
Clowney, 26, who was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl last season, finished 2018 with 47 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also had 16 tackles for loss, which tied for ninth in the NFL last season, and he now has 53 tackles for loss over the past three seasons, which ranks third in the league.
Clowney the first overall pick of the 2014 draft, struggled with knee injuries early in his career, missing 15 games in his first two seasons. In 2016, he played through wrist and elbow injuries, appearing in 14 games and making the Pro Bowl for the first time. Since then, he has missed just one game over two seasons.
Clowney, chose not to sign his franchise tender this offseason, which is worth $15.967 million for the 2019 season. Clowney will have to sign the tender in order to complete the trade.
The Texans tagged Clowney as a linebacker ($15.443 million) rather than as a defensive end ($17.128 million). However, because players receive the higher amount between the tag value or 120% of last year’s salary, Clowney is poised to get an additional $524,000 this season. He made $13.306 million, including a $1 million bonus, while playing on his fifth-year option in 2018.
Despite being tagged as a linebacker, Clowney played most of his snaps at defensive end in 2018, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He logged 729 at defensive end, 101 at defensive tackle and 33 at linebacker last season.
It’s the second major trade the Seahawks and Texans have pulled off in less than two years. Seattle acquired left tackle Duane Brown at the trade deadline in 2017 for what turned out to be a return of draft picks after cornerback Jeremy Lane failed his physical and reverted back to the Seahawks.
Barkevious Mingo, one of the two players Seattle is sending to Houston in the Clowney deal, was seemingly on Seattle’s roster bubble. He had been underwhelming in his move from strong-side linebacker, where he started in 2018, to defensive end and carried a $5.2 million cap charge in the final year of his deal. Seattle will save $4.1 million against its cap by trading Mingo while incurring $1.1 million in dead money.
Jacob Martin, the other defensive end Houston is acquiring, was a sixth-round pick in 2018 who had three sacks as a rookie. Pete Carroll had repeatedly talked up Martin as a player the Seahawks expected to take a significant jump in his second season, noting the strong pressure rates he had as a rotational pass-rusher. Martin only played 225 defensive snaps and was second in special-teams snaps behind Mingo with 279, according to Pro Football Reference.
Information from ESPN’s Brady Henderson and Sarah Barshop was used in this report.