While Jadeveon Clowney remains open to re-signing with the Seattle Seahawks, the defensive end would have to take significantly less money than what the team previously offered him in order for a reunion to happen, a league source told ESPN.
The Seahawks have not shut the door on re-signing Clowney, but it's not considered likely in part because of their financial situation and the amount of money the free-agent defensive end has been seeking.
General manager John Schneider has hinted at that unlikeliness in recent public comments, in which he's spoken in the past tense about the Seahawks' efforts to re-sign Clowney.
"We took a good run at it," Schneider told KJR-AM last week. "It didn't happen. He's a great guy. He fit in great in the locker room, did a really nice job for us, but we need to be conducting business, and he just was not in a position to make a move. So we gave it a run and now you've got to keep going, and that's what we've done."
Clowney was seeking a deal averaging $21 million per season at the start of free agency, according to a source. He dropped his asking price to around $17 million to $18 million per season last month, a source told ESPN's Dianna Russini.
The Seahawks don't currently have an offer on the table to Clowney after he rejected their latest one.
The Seahawks have roughly $21 million in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com, but that doesn't count Bruce Irvin's deal, and it doesn't reflect other cap and cash expenses that limit the team's remaining spending power.
After their initial attempts to re-sign Clowney stalled, the Seahawks signed Irvin and Benson Mayowa to boost what was one of the NFL's least effective pass rushes in 2019. Mayowa's one-year, $3.05 million deal came together on April 1 after the Seahawks determined they could no longer afford to wait on Clowney at the risk of losing out on other free agents.
Irvin recorded a career-best 8.5 sacks last season in a starting role with the Carolina Panthers, and Mayowa set a career high with seven sacks as a rotational pass-rusher with the Raiders. Clowney had three sacks for Seattle, and no Seahawks defender had more than four as the team finished the regular season with 28 sacks, tied for second fewest in the league.
L.J. Collier, last year's 29th overall pick, is among the Seahawks' young returning edge rushers. He contributed little last season and was a healthy scratch several times after missing most of training camp and the regular-season opener because of a sprained ankle. The Seahawks also re-signed defensive tackle Jarran Reed to a two-year, $23 million deal and then drafted Tennessee's Darrell Taylor (second round) and Syracuse's Alton Robinson (fifth round).
When asked in his KJR-AM interview about the possibility of adding another defensive lineman before the season, Schneider gave the impression that any addition would have to be inexpensive.
"The draft is really about 70% of what we concentrate on," Schneider said. "We have to be careful with our budget and our salary cap because as you guys have seen, we take pride in our ability to work with the coaches and try to build our team throughout the season. This thing doesn't stop when you get to 53. It doesn't stop after the draft. There will be cap casualty guys out there throughout the offseason.
"What you don't want to do is bring yourself right to the point where you're not able to add players that are all of a sudden available on the market that you didn't see coming. So I'm sure at some point we'll see some changes in there. ... We're excited where we're at."
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that some around the league believe the Cleveland Browns got closer to a deal with Clowney than other suitors. Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson told reporters on the day of Russini's report that the team had been in touch with Bus Cook, Clowney's agent.
Clowney said at the end of last season that he was interested in playing only for a contending team.
Although Clowney finished with only three sacks in 13 regular-season games, he consistently was Seattle's most disruptive defensive lineman, and he scored two defensive touchdowns. He added 1.5 sacks in Seattle's two playoff games.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has acknowledged that not being allowed to bring in free agents for visits or being able to oversee physicals amid the coronavirus pandemic has likely impacted Clowney. He had surgery for a core-muscle injury that bothered him for the second half of last season, and he has dealt with knee injuries in his career.