It sounds like Jadeveon Clowney’s contract choice right now might be taking around $18 million a year in a four-season pact with the Seahawks or holding out for a big 2021 payday by playing 2020 for as little as $13 million.
If that is true, his choice should be simple: Take the Seattle deal. And become a free agent again in 2024 at age 31.
Various reports indicate Seattle has made a strong offer — a source told SI.com’s Corbin Smith that the offer is $18.5 million. Over four years (Seattle’s preferred length), that would be $74 million.
Other reports indicate Clowney is so disenchanted with the lack of $20 million APY offers that he is considering taking a one-year, prove-it deal. Per John Clayton of 710 ESPN, that figure has dropped under $15 million, perhaps as low as $13 million (few 4-3 teams still need pass rushers and no team apparently wants to take a very big one-year cap hit).
If that low number is true, and if Clowney were to put up a big 2020 that earned him a $100 million deal next offseason, he actually might be gambling to make just $2 million more in the 2020-23 seasons than if he took the sure thing with Seattle right now.
As the template, let’s use Frank Clark’s contract with the Chiefs, which averages almost $21 million a year. The first three years of that deal pay the former Seahawk $63 million. If Clowney’s 2020 deal were really just $13 million and he did manage to get his big payday next year, his four-year total would be around $76 million — just $2 million more than Seattle apparently is promising right now. Even a $15 million prove-it deal in 2020 would give Clowney a mere $4 million more.
His six-year total would be maybe $116 million, an average of $19.3 million — not even a million more than the average Seattle reportedly is offering.
If all of these offers are correct, why not take the sure thing, play for Seattle for four more years and earn another big contract a year earlier?