New York Giants: 2 free agent pass rushers that could make sense for Big Blue

New York Giants, Leonard Floyd

The New York Giants need an influx of talent at pass rusher, as the outside linebacker corps, this past season was shredded with injuries and inconsistency.

During the 2020 season, the Giants managed 40 total sacks, good for 12th in the NFL. It is quite impressive that coordinator Patrick Graham was able to scheme pressure without elite pass rushers, aside from a strong interior defense.

Thankfully, Leonard Williams produced 11.5 to cover up the deficiencies of other units. Utilizing safeties, corners, and linebackers to blitz and stunt also worked effectively, but adding a solid player to the trenches would be beneficial for Graham and his quest to develop one of the best defenses in football.

Let’s take a look at two free agents the New York Giants could consider this off-season:

1.) Leonard Floyd

Remember when the New York Giants were interested in edge rusher Leonard Floyd back in 2016? Well, the Chicago Bears leapfrogged them and secured his talents. At 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds, Floyd has fantastic size and speed off the edge but simply hasn’t been able to develop into the star player most believed he would.

Since then, Floyd has slowly developed his game, having a solid season this past year with the Los Angeles Rams. He had his best game of the year against the Arizona Cardinals in week 17, earning a 90.4 overall pass-rush grade, per PFF. He finished the year with 11 total sacks, which represents a quality pass rusher with room left to grow. He fits the outside linebacker role perfectly for the Giants, and he’s also remained healthy, which is a great factor to incorporate.

He might be a bit more pricey than some of the other players on the market, but Floyd undoubtedly represents a player with upside and one that can be a difference-maker for Big Blue moving forward. If they’re willing to spend a bit more money on his services, he really is a perfect fit for Graham’s scheme.

2.) Jadeveon Clowney

This might be a bit more optimistic, but Clowney could represent a solid alternative for the Giants. He played in just eight games this year before suffering a knee injury to his meniscus. That could indicate an opportunity for the Giants to secure his talents on a one year deal, which would likely be cheaper. Clowney is a fantastic talent when healthy, locking down the edge in the run game and also providing effective pass rush moves. He doesn’t collect the stats that normally you would expect from a player of his talents, but you could say the same for Leonard Williams over the past few years.

Graham simply knows how to extract the most from underperforming players, and Clowney could be one of them. At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, he has elite size and strength and played primarily at outside linebacker this year with the Tennessee Titans. It would be an easy transition for the Giants, and after signing a one-year, $12.7 million deal this past season with the Titans, that price tag will probably drop even further. If they could lock him in on a one year, $8-10 million deal, they could be in great shape moving forward on the D-line.

Of course, taking a risk on an injury-prone player is always something to be aware of, but if it works out in the Giants’ favor, it could lead them to a playoff appearance and more. That’s the trade-off you have to consider, so the Giants will have to run the risk, but one that could pay off in dividends.

New York Giants: Arguments for an against signing Jadeveon Clowney

New York Jets, Jadeveon Clowney

The New York Giants learned that offensive lineman Nate Solder would pause his NFL career for one season on Wednesday morning. Solder cited his family issues and the battle with cancer his son has gone through the past few years as a primary factor. With his justifiable decision and putting his family first, the Giants will move forward with the talent they already have on the roster.

Drafting both Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart should provide them with enough tackle depth for 2020.

However, Solder opting out of his contract opens up $19.5 million in cap space. The Giants could elect to spend it or hypothetically roll it over to the 2021 season. One player that has been connected to New York for quite some time is Jadeveon Clowney, formally of the Seattle Seahawks.

Should the New York Giants sign Jadeveon Clowney on a one-year deal?

Argument for:

Signing Clowney would be expensive for the Giants, as he will command at least $14 million per season. The expectation is he wants to join a contending team on a long-term deal, but in the NFL, nothing is guaranteed. He could cash in for one season, and gain exponential reps, utilizing them to catapult him forward. When free agency originally started, he was asking for money in the $20-22 million range, but he has since tempered his expectations.

He would fit perfectly in the Giants’ 3-4 base game. With Patrick Graham taking over, gaining a premium level pass rusher would only help his transition to the Giants. Scheming a pass rush is the most probable course of action, without proven commodities at the outside linebacker position.

The issue with Clowney is that he’s never reached double-digit sacks in his career. He puts consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and locks down running backs on his edge, but simply just doesn’t tally up the numbers in the sack category. When you compare that to a player like Markus Golden, who expected to sign a more lucrative deal after posting 10.0 sacks in 2019, we can come to the conclusion that it is an overrated start to a degree.

Over his past four seasons, he has earned at least 13 quarterback hits, with a high of 21. His low of 13 came in 2019 when he played in just 13 games over 57% of defensive stats. That is 300 less than he experienced in Houston in 2018. He was also playing defensive end compared to outside linebacker.

Ultimately, Clowney has the ability to shut down an entire side of the defensive line, and he would only benefit the Giants’ defense.

New York Jets newcomer Bradley McDougald goes on the recruiting trail

If social media is to be trusted, Bradley McDougald is making sure he won’t be the only Seattle transplant with the 2020 New York Jets.

Bradley McDougald has yet to play a down with the New York Jets, but he’s already trying to make a big play.

The newly acquired safety, thus far the only named acquisition from the Jamal Adams trade, is apparently trying to make sure he’s not the only former Seattle Seahawk to suit up for the Jets this season. A Monday night Twitter post featured a screenshot of a FaceTime conversation between him and former fellow Seattle defender Jadeveon Clowney. According to McDougald, Clowney is interested in a reunion, this one in a new shade of green.

Spoke to my boy (Clowney) today, told me to the tell the (Jets) to come get him!!” McDougald happily declares in the caption accompanying the photo. “Let’s make it happen.” 

Clowney and the Seahawks have been unable to come to terms on a long-term deal. He is currently listed as a free agent.
The 27-year-old defensive end didn’t secure a long-term deal with his original employers in Houston, having been franchise tagged last offseason. Houston dealt him to the Seahawks eight days before their opening week contest in exchange for Jacob Martin, Barkevious Mingo, and a third-round draft pick (which they later dealt to the Raiders). Clowney picked up 31 tackles, including three sacks, last season in Seattle to accompany four forced fumbles and his first career interception. He has earned 27.5 sacks over the last four seasons between his time with the Texans and Seahawks. In comparison, Jordan Jenkins is the current Jets’ leader in sacks in that span with 20.5.
Clowney is reportedly seeking a deal in the circa $20 million range, a landmark only three active defensive linemen (Aaron Donald, DeForest Buckner, Chris Jones) have reached. The Jets currently have just over $21 million in cap space with training camp set to open this week.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags


Could the New York Jets splurge on Jadeveon Clowney with extra cap space?

Should the New York Jets dip their hand in the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes?

One of the weaker units on the New York Jets roster is their pass rush, and with Trumaine Johnson off the books, they have a bit more cap space to spend in free agency if they choose to do so. The $11 million they are saving could be utilized toward a player like Jadeveon Clowney, who would upgrade their pass rush unit significantly and offer them security on the edge.

The Jets haven’t expressed must interest in Clowney, but he has bounced around in negotiations, and his price tag is seemingly dwindling with every passing day. The Cleveland Browns recently proposed an offer, which he declined. With $25.2 million in available cap space, the Jets have plenty of mobility if they choose to spend some of it.

With the way the Jets are setting up their team for the 2020 season, it seems they are looking to win now, as Adam Gase will be going into his second year as head coach, and Sam Darnold is preparing to suit up for his tired NFL season. Their defense is solid but requires a bit more talent at the pass rush position and the secondary.

Drafting left tackle Mekhi Becton, Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims, and cornerback out of Virginia, Bryce Hall, indicates that they have identified their weakest links and allocated valuable resources toward them. While I do believe the Jets are still somewhere in a rebuilding phase, they have the talent and experience to compete moving forward. With that being said, adding a player like Clowney would be a major boost to the defense and hopefully keep the offense on the field more.

The reality behind Clowney is simple — his mediocre production and injury history is worrisome, but when on the field and playing at a high-level, he’s one of the best edge setters in the league. The major issue is his sack production, having only posted three 13 games last season.

His ability to adapt to a defensive end or outside linebacker role is unique, and he has shown ample production in the past. I believe he would be a major addition for the Jets, but with multiple units still lacking significant talent, it might be best to save their money for the 2021 off-season, rather than prematurely allocating a multi-year deal for a player that could underperform.

The New York Giants should remain far away from Jadeveon Clowney

New York Giants, Jadeveon Clowney

Why the New York Giants must stay far away from Jadeveon Clowney:

One of the more problematic units for the New York Giants heading into the 2020 season is their pass rush. Prior to placing a free agent tender on Markus Golden, which still doesn’t guarantee he will remain with the team for their future campaign, the Giants were heavily looking into Jadeveon Clowney, formally of the Seattle Seahawks.

Interestingly enough, Clowney remains available on the free-agent market, but most teams are not willing to part with the money he is asking for. General manager Dave Gettleman is focused on lower priced options, like Kyler Fackrell, who had a stellar 2018 campaign but fell into a secondary role in 2019.

Only a few months ago Clowney mentioned he would be open to joining New York, but he was more interested in playoff contending teams. He was reportedly seeking a deal upwards of $20 million per season, and no team has been willing to bite at that price point.

Ultimately, if Golden fails to sign elsewhere, he will earn 110% of his 2019 salary, which comes out to about $5 million. That is a steal for a player who recorded double digit sacks last season and has experience with some of the younger players currently on the roster. While Golden doesn’t match up with Clowney in terms of overall influence, he will serve a greater purpose in lowering their cap hit and giving them the freedom to look elsewhere in 2021.

Clowney most recently rejected an offer from the Cleveland Browns, as he believes his worth is far more significant. Even the Philadelphia Eagles have taken a shot at landing him, but it seems he is keen on waiting it out until he gets a bigger deal. Injuries are frequent in the NFL and eventually, a team will have to cough up the dough. Hopefully, it is not the Giants who have to do so.

It is also important to mention that the Giants will be looking to bolster their team with available cap next season, and signing Clowney on a multi-year deal worth potentially over $15 million per season, which would significantly hinder their ability to sign free agents. The 2020 season is meant to continue their rebuild, as the team is not in a prime position to contend for a playoff berth. With that being said, looking to the draft or free agency next year might be more practical.

Should the New York Jets dive into the Jadeveon Clowney pool?

New York Giants, Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney is still available and the New York Jets could be in the market for a pass rusher:

The Jets suffered significant injuries in 2019, which limited their production and efficiency. With a majority of their talent returning in full force next season, Gang Green is in a position to have a successful 2020 campaign, depending heavily on their offense.

However, adding more talent to the defensive line could be the answer to earning a playoff berth. Returning players like Avery Williamson, CJ Mosely, and Blake Cashman should give the defense a boost, but Clowney brings multiple levels of production that are difficult to replicate.

In 2019, Clowney played in just 13 games, earning three sacks, seven tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, and one interception. His sack numbers don’t open any eyes, but he consistently solidifies one side of the defensive line and plays well against the run. At 26-years-old, the three-time Pro Bowler is still in his prime and can contribute heavily toward a defense that is already strong.

Reports initially indicated that Jadeveon was looking for a minimum of $20 million per season, but that number has steadily declined as teams lost interest in his abilities. With the market failing to develop as Clowney anticipated, the Jets could be in a position of leverage and land him on a deal worth far less than $20 million per season, locking up a position that is one injury away from being problematic.

The biggest issue is cap space, as the Jets currently have a little over $18 million available, according to

Signing Clowney would lower that number significantly unless they can backload the contract, which is never a desirable method when signing players. Considering teams prefer to go into the season with cash to spare, and the rookies haven’t been signed just yet, that number will go down.

Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline still believes that the Jets could be interested in the former Seattle Seahawk.

He stated the Jets have been “fishing around” Clowney and that they “have a legitimate shot” at signing him if they “put forth a good offer.”

I don’t believe that Clowney is worth investing in unless the deal is in the $10-14 million range, given his minimal sack numbers. The Jets have enough talent on defense to handle the load, and with Jamal Adams demanding a new deal, figuring out that issue should be at the top of GM Joe Douglas’ mind.

One Thing That Could Rule Out Jadeveon Clowney For New York Giants

New York Jets, Jadeveon Clowney

The New York Giants have been mentioned by analysts as a landing spot for Jadeveon Clowney, but so far, there’s many reasons why the deal doesn’t work as well as some might think. The primary reason is cost – Clowney is asking for more than any team right now is willing to pay, and the Giants are one of the ones that have passed on signing Clowney for that reason. However, there’s also other reasons at play making teams reluctant to make a move for Clowney.

One of those reasons is Clowney’s health, which hasn’t been perfect throughout his career to this point, and has been one of the factors holding his career back. According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, the Giants are one of the teams that have considered Clowney but are reluctant because of his injury history. This has also supposedly impacted Clowney’s chances with the Jets.

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.

The Giants would indeed have to commit big money to Clowney if they wanted to bring him in to replace top pass rusher Markus Golden, who the team is unlikely to come to an agreement with if recent reports are accurate. That commitment would come to the tune of at least 17 million, which would make Clowney one of the highest paid players on the team.

To make the situation worse for a potential deal, any agreement is likely to be a short term one that would see the Giants effectively rent Clowney for a short time – rather than signing a long term deal, Clowney is likely to seek a one year contract and look for a bigger deal after the salary cap increases.

All of these red flags combined with the fact that the Giants don’t need rental players at this stage in their rebuilding process means that whatever chance there was of Clowney becoming a Giant is likely gone by now – and it may be for the better.

The Giants do need help in their pass rush, and it’s unclear if Kyler Fackrell is the answer. However, one thing that the team doesn’t need is an under-producing and overpaid player who may end up leaving the next season rather than staying around for the rebuilding process. All of those things, unfortunately, are things that describe Clowney.

Are The New York Jets Leverage for Jadeveon Clowney?

New York Jets, Jadeveon Clowney

According to The Seattle Times the New York Jets are among the teams to have put in an offer for Edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Jadeveon Clowney reportedly also has offers from the Seahawks and Titans. Dianna Russini reported a few weeks ago that Clowney wanted $20 million a year. Judging by the market, Clowney has vastly overshot where his contract will be at. This could lead him to take a cheaper prove it deal. Then, a few days ago, Jeremy Fowler reported the Seahawks are in the lead and the Jets could make the move.

Are the Jets Leverage?

The Jets have often been used as a leveraged team in negotiations in the past. This is likely the same situation. However, the way Joe Douglas has approached free agency has changed that. The New York Jets have struck cheap, short term prove-it deals and are showing they won’t budge for a player. The Seahawks and other interested teams likely know that and are aware of this. The Jets have proven throughout free agency they will take chances on guys who fit their team and their culture, not just talented players.

Clowney is a force and I don’t even think he’s tapped into his full potential yet. He and his agent had an opportunity to get PAID by the Dolphins and he held out.  So now, his market has thinned and he overshot the money he was worth. Clowney has three suitors, the Seahawks, Titans, and Jets. The Jets have reportedly done their, “due diligence” according to Joe Douglas, but they don’t seem to be true suitors. The Jets seem to be more of a ploy by the Clowney camp to drive up his potential salary. If the number does drop to a low number, then the Jets could jump on Clowney, but right now they’re looking more like a leverage tactic.

New York Giants could still land Jadeveon Clowney after market tumble

New York Giants, Jadeveon Clowney, Markus Golden

The New York Giants remain a pass-rusher needy team after signing Kyler Fackrell and allowing Markus Golden to hit the open market. However, it’s still possible they retain the veteran linebacker. Golden has not seemed to hit the free agency market with enthusiasm most imagined, and it possibly suggests that the Giants are looking to retain him on a multi-year deal.

Despite his lack of attention, Golden has competition by the name of Jadeveon Clowney. The former Seahawks defender hit free agency with an expected price-tag of $22 million, but the market has not developed in his favor. Clowney is receiving options in the $12-14 million range, far less than what was expected.

If Clowney can’t command more than $15 million, there’s little to suggest Golden should even approach that number over multiple-years. The situation unfolding is interesting, as Clowney is by far the best pass-rusher on the market, considering his ability to stop the run and lock down a side of the defensive edge.

Is it possible the New York Giants land Jadeveon Clowney after market tumble?

The market not responding to Clowney’s demands leaves the door open for the Giants, but Clowney’s representation will not accept a lesser deal just four days into free agency. A team will eventually come calling with a higher number. I anticipate he will land in the $18 million per season range, a bit out of the Giants’ price-range.

Golden ultimately represents the better option based on a variety of factors — price, leadership, familiarity with the Giants and their young players. The jury is still out on Golden, as some believe a majority of his sacks were a result of good coverage. However, Golden’s unstoppable motor and 27 QB hits suggest he was in the backfield quite a fair amount.

If the Giants can lock up the former Arizona Cardinal OLB on a multi-year deal averaging about $11-12 million per season, they shouldn’t hesitate. With Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines featuring at the OLB position, the Giants desperately need to add more talent, otherwise, they risk having a minimal pass-rush in 2020.

New York Giants: Has The Market Lowered The Cost For Jadeveon Clowney?

New York Jets, Jadeveon Clowney

At the start of free agency, many believed the New York Giants could help fix their pass rush by bringing in Seahawks outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, who came into the league with much hype but is looking for a different team after Seattle decided not to bring him back – specifically because of Clowney producing only a third of the sacks that he did in his last season in Houston.

However, Clowney’s reported price tag is likely what caused the Giants to look for other options. Clowney’s desired $20,000,000 per year would have made him the highest paid player on the team and a multi-year deal would disrupt the cap situation for the Giants for years to come. Because of that, the talk about Clowney to the Giants died down as free agency began. There’s more of an expectation of the Giants drafting an outside linebacker at this point.

Free agency has continued since the rumors died down, though, and Clowney still hasn’t been signed. Could this failure to find a new team show Clowney that he’s asking for too much, and convince him to lower his price tag for the Giants? According to the New York Post, Clowney’s opinions may indeed have changed.

Sources told The Post the Giants have expressed interest in Clowney, who started off asking for $20 million per year on a multi-year contract, but has found a surprisingly depressed market five days into free agency. He reportedly is open to a high-paying short-term deal with a chance to reenter free agency when the salary cap skyrockets next season.

The New York Post article suggests the dramatic move of rescinding the franchise tag from Leonard Williams and exchanging Williams for Clowney on a one year deal.

Would Clowney be a good prospect for the Giants to pursue? Potentially, but such a decision shouldn’t be made lightly – it’s unknown exactly how much Clowney wants right now and whether that’s enough money to warrant shutting down the idea of a deal and spending it on other players instead.

Additionally, the Giants aren’t going to be contenders this year barring a miracle, and therefore aren’t at the stage of team building when signing rental players for a high cost for one year is worth it. Even if Clowney won’t affect the cap beyond one year, it’s still money that the Giants could spend on other players who will build the team up more long term for the future.

All in all, the chances here likely depend on what kind of deal the Giants want, but regardless, the team should be careful – the Giants don’t need to be in ‘win now’ mode right now, after all.