Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
The 2020 NFL offseason is nearing its end. Training camps are scheduled to open at the end of July, and free agency is roughly four months old. Yet some quality free agents remain on the open market with just weeks to go before the camps kick off.
Now that Cam Newton is a member of the New England Patriots, pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney is the biggest name left in the unemployment line. The three-time Pro Bowler had a down season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, but a sports hernia that required surgery may have been the culprit.
Unfortunately, the league’s restriction on travel has made it difficult for teams to evaluate Clowney’s recovery. This hasn’t stopped teams from making him offers, though.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com recently told 92.3 The Fan that the Cleveland Browns made two separate offers to Clowney. According to Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan, the Las Vegas Raiders have made Clowney an offer as well:
Cecil Lammey @CecilLammey
Team sources tell me #Raiders have extended an offer to Jadeveon Clowney. 2 or 3 other teams have better offers. Jon Gruden REALLY wants him but Davis/Mayock are standing pat (for now) Gruden would like to up the offer. Interesting for #Broncos if JC winds up in AFCW @1043TheFan
However, Clowney is looking to land with a proven winner and that, along with a limited market, could push him back to Seattle.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times recently described the Seahawks as “still waiting in the wings and available to pounce, with the odds likely increasing he plays another year in Seattle with every other option that falls through.”
A reunion would make a lot of sense. The Seahawks have a better idea about Clowney’s health than any other team, and they would fill Clowney’s desire to land with a contender. Seattle has made the postseason in seven of the past eight years.
Prediction: Clowney re-signs with Seattle on a one-year deal.
Steven Senne/Associated Press
Though cornerback Logan Ryan isn’t as prolific a free agent as Clowney, he would still be a valuable defensive piece for an interested team. He isn’t a burner of a corner, but he has tremendous ball skills and great coverage instincts.
Last season, Ryan had 18 passes defended, four interceptions and 118 tackles.
The issue is that Ryan is looking for a deal in the $10 million-per-year range, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. That’s problematic because more than a quarter of the league has less than $10 million in cap space remaining, per Spotrac.
One team that would make a lot of sense is the Miami Dolphins. Head coach Brian Flores previously worked with Ryan with the New England Patriots, and Miami has roughly $28 million in cap space. Ryan could be a valuable depth corner alongside Xavien Howard, Byron Jones and rookie Noah Igbinoghene. However, the Dolphins have not “aggressively pursued” Ryan, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
A return to the Tennessee Titans could also make sense, but the Houston Texans might provide a better fit. They have nearly $20 million in cap space and could desperately use some veteran depth in their secondary.
Houston ranked 29th in passing yards allowed last season. Ryan has experience playing in the AFC South, and joining the Texans would likely allow him to parlay that experience into another playoff opportunity.
Prediction: Ryan signs a one-year deal with Houston.
Defensive end Everson Griffen is another valuable defensive free agent who is surprisingly still on the market. Though he is 32, Griffen remains an effective defensive lineman who racked up 41 tackles and 8.0 sacks last season.
Yet there hasn’t been a large market for Griffen’s services to this point. The Browns would make some sense, but according to Cabot, they aren’t interested—and it’s difficult to tell who might be.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson (h/t Jeff Cavenaugh of 105.3 The Fan), Griffen’s market has been unusually quiet:
This could lead Griffen back to the Minnesota Vikings. He appeared to be done with Minnesota during early free agency, but he also told NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero “never say never” regarding a possible return.
While the Vikings aren’t loaded with cap space, they do have nearly $12 million available and could make Griffen a reasonable offer.
Prediction: Griffen signs a two-year deal with Minnesota.
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