This year’s edge rusher free agency class could be especially deep, depending on how certain teams proceed with their respective franchise tags. But that doesn’t apply to the biggest name. Jadeveon Clowney cannot be tagged and is on track to test the market, and said market may be taking shape at the Combine. Thus far in the process, the Colts and Giants are two teams who have surfaced in connection to Clowney. Both could have interest in the former No. 1 overall pick, per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Both teams feature edge rusher needs, the Giants more than the Colts, and each holds north of $70MM in cap space.
The Seahawks, however, are not out of the mix. Clowney said (via Anderson, on Twitter) after spending a season in Seattle he would “definitely” like to stay, though the six-year veteran pass rusher added he is open to relocating. Seahawks GM John Schneider confirmed (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson) the team wants Clowney back. Seattle has both Clowney and defensive tackle Jarran Reed as free agents, leaving major holes on the team’s defensive line.
Here is the latest from the free agent market:
- With major needs up front, the Jets are expected to make several additions this offseason. They have expressed serious interest in Jack Conklin, according to Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com. A four-year starter at right tackle in Tennessee, Conklin will be coveted by many teams and will command a top-market contract. The Jets have deployed a bottom-tier offensive line for years, and the Titans having Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry as looming UFAs will likely send Conklin out of town.
- The Patriots, who extended Shaq Mason in 2018, are preparing to lose his longtime guard mate. Joe Thuney has been expected to leave since last year’s Combine, per Doug Kyed of NESN.com. Approximately 20 teams have the four-year Patriots starter on their respective radars, Pauline adds. A market like this, coupled with the CBA potentially set to see record cap spikes in the coming years, likely puts Thuney in line to eclipse Lane Johnson‘s $14.1MM guard-record pact.
- However, the Pats are not giving up on retaining some of their other key free agents. They have spoken with the representatives of Devin McCourty and Jamie Collins, Kyed notes. McCourty played out a five-year extension signed back in 2015, while Collins re-established his value on a low-level Pats accord. The latter will likely be looking for a deal closer to the $12MM-plus pact he inked with the Browns in 2017.
- Although Chris Harris is the most accomplished cornerback on this year’s market and rated higher by some outlets, Byron Jones is viewed by corner-needy teams as the top prize at the position this year, Pauline notes. At 27, Jones is three years younger than Harris. The Cowboys are likely set to let Jones walk, having authorized numerous recent extensions and are set for crunch-time negotiations with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Jones is expected to see big offers from multiple teams, per Pauline, and is almost certainly set to raise the bar from its longstanding place at $15MM per year.