Seattle Seahawks edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney entered free agency as one of the top defensive players available. With the 2020 NFL season set to kick off in three weeks, the star linebacker remains a free agent and he could be without a team for even longer.

Once seen as a generational talent as the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Clowney is now struggling to find a home with Week 1 closing in.

NFL Rumors: Market for Jadeveon Clowney is thinning

When the offseason began, Clowney wanted to become one of the highest-paid players in NFL history. He sought a market-setting contract, but was only interested in teams he viewed as Super Bowl contenders.

Before long, it became clear that all 32 NFL clubs weren’t nearly as high on Clowney as he was of himself. He received limited interest from a few organizations in March, with no general manager willing to meet his asking price.

With training camp underway and multiple teams dealing with injuries on defense, things still haven’t improved. According to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, the number of NFL teams pursuing Clowney is thinning as the regular season draws closer.

In a summer that has seen many of the game’s top defenders get paid, Clowney remains a free agent and the 27-year-old only has himself to blame for it.

Jadeveon Clowney’s stats highlight risks and rewards for teams

Clowney, drafted by the Houston Texans with the No. 1 pick, came into the league with massive expectations. Since entering the NFL, durability issues and inconsistent production have muddied his reputation.

He played in just four games in his rookie season, missing a majority of the year with a torn meniscus and a follow-up surgery in his knee. When he returned the following year, he played in just 13 games, recording 4.5 sacks in his first two years.

It finally looked like things were coming together for Clowney in 2016. He played in 14 games, racking up 16 tackles for loss with six sacks and earning his first Pro Bowl selection.

Over his next two seasons in Houston, Clowney combined for 18.5 sacks with 42 quarterback hits and earned two more trips to the Pro Bowl. However, following a contract dispute, the Texans traded him to the Seattle Seahawks.

During the 2019 season, Clowney’s durability issues and inconsistency reappeared. A core muscle injury caused him to miss time and play hurt, leading to just three sacks and seven tackles for loss in 13 games.

However, stretches of poor play and an inability to stay on the field aren’t the only reason Clowney remains unsigned.

Why does Jadeveon Clowney remain a free agent?

The Cleveland Browns showed the most interest in Clowney this offseason and reportedly offered him the most lucrative multi-year contract. However, he wasn’t interested in playing for the Browns and the organization moved on in July after a second failed pursuit.

Clowney is reportedly interested in playing for the New Orleans Saints or Dallas Cowboys, even willing to take less money to join them. Unfortunately for him, neither club has shown a desire to sign him.

After months of frustrating negotiations, many clubs have moved on from the talented edge rusher. But, it’s worth noting that the Philadelphia EaglesBaltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks have all expressed interest or submitted an offer to Clowney this offseason.

Ultimately, the 27-year-old will need to settle for a one-year contract for far less money than he wanted. Until he’s willing to swallow his pride and sign a team-friendly deal, he will remain a free agent.

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick