It's been more than two weeks since the free-agent market opened, and Jadeveon Clowney is still unsigned. That's why the top defensive player available has reportedly already dropped his asking price significantly. And some think he may do it again.
But the reality is he's going to have to drop that price a heck of a lot more if he's going to really draw the interest of the Giants or the Jets.
Jets GM Joe Douglas did open the door to some Clowney speculation on Wednesday when he said the Jets are "going to do our due diligence on everybody that's out there -- especially at the edge-rushing position."
But the Jets are still far from being the favorite to land the 27-year-old star. And the reason is his price, which is reportedly now about $17-18 million per season, down from around $23 million per year when the process started.
Even at that price, though, Clowney has suitors. Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson said he has been in contact with Clowney's agents. And the Seattle Seahawks are reportedly still interested in bringing him back.
Meanwhile, there has been no indication at all that Douglas is willing to spend that kind of money on any one player in free agency. And a team source said that plan -- based on being "disciplined financially" and creating "flexibility", as Douglas said -- is unlikely to change.
The disinterest is not just about financial concerns, though. Many around the NFL have other concerns about Clowney, specifically the fact that he's had three knee surgeries in his six-year NFL career. His last one came following the 2017 season, but he also did miss three games with hip and groin injuries last year.
Many teams -- the Giants included, per sources -- are very wary of making a big-money commitment to a player with that kind of injury history. Presumably that has factored into the Jets' thinking as well.
Could Clowney's price drop far enough to change the thinking of either team? That's certainly always possible. But if his asking price really is $17-18 million, he might have to nearly cut that in half to draw the New York teams in. Even then, the Giants probably wouldn't have the cap room to sign him unless they rescinded the $16.1 million franchise tag from Leonard Williams -- something they are not intending to do, according to a source.
As for the Jets, they certainly could create the space by cutting or reducing the salaries of players like linebacker Avery Williamson or guard Brian Winters. But they certainly are moving forward as if they don't intend to create room to bring in a big-money player like Clowney. In fact, after doing that "due diligence" on the pass-rushing market, they decided to bring back Jordan Jenkins on a one-year, $5 million deal.
The 25-year-old Jenkins, by the way, had eight sacks last season and has 15 in the last two years. Clowney had three last season and 12 in the last two years.
"I can tell you that we're all very excited to get Jordan Jenkins back even though it was on a one-year deal," Douglas said on Wednesday. "Love the production that he's had in his first few years in the league. Talk about one of the best locker room guys we have. So, I can't tell you how excited we are to get Jordan."
"We're going to look at multiple positions throughout the rest of free agency and the draft," Douglas said. "If there's an opportunity for us to upgrade, I think we have the flexibility to do it."