The closer it gets to draft time, the closer it gets to decision time for the Seahawks about which established pass rusher they are going to add.
We already said the team needs to move on from Jadeveon Clowney if he is seeking just a one-year deal at this point, but now it seems he might be intent on waiting until the COVID-19 shutdown is lifted so he can undergo physicals in the hope of getting what he wants (at least $20 million a year).
If that is the case, it’s definitely time to move on; Seattle has to have a pass rusher before the draft begins April 23.
At best, the pandemic lockdown will last just a couple more months, so June might be the earliest Clowney could begin shopping himself again. But it could be much longer, if America does not soon flatten the curve. If the worst-case projections for the pandemic are true, life might not normalize until August or September.
If Clowney is indeed set on waiting until America reopens for business, the Seahawks need to sign Everson Griffen and/or prepare to make a deal for one of the franchise pass rushers, Yannick Ngakoue or Matthew Judon.
Griffen is interested in the Seahawks, but he almost surely will sign with someone before the draft (veteran players always try to find clubs before rookies start taking up lockers at cheaper prices). And Ngakoue and Judon would require a draft pick or two in trade, so either would have to be acquired the week of the draft. Several teams reportedly are interested in Ngakoue (the Seahawks already reportedly checked in with Jacksonville about him), and he is itching to be traded.
If the Hawks were to pass on all three of those sack men and then Clowney were to get a better offer from someone after the pandemic passes, Seattle would have whiffed on adding a reliable pass rusher before camp for a third straight year. And John Schneider then would be forced into trying to repeat the last-gasp 2019 move that brought Clowney — trying to trade for a guy on the eve of the season.
That’s not a strategy; that’s desperation.
If Schneider and Pete Carroll think they will be OK with Bruce Irvin, Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier and a rookie, they are asking for the same poor results they had in 2019: a terrible pass rush, bad overall defense and another early exit from the playoffs.
If they want to compete for the Super Bowl, they have to get one of those final four star pass rushers (or make another surprise trade for a good veteran sacker). And draft day is simply the natural deadline for that to happen.