One of the biggest free agent this offseason, Jadeveon Clowney, is still unsigned and now is the time for the Buffalo Bills to try and reach a deal.
The Buffalo Bills under Brandon Beane have done a good job of finding value in free agency and there may not be a bigger value right now than Jadeveon Clowney. The former first overall pick entered this offseason as the top pass rusher on the market and at this point in the offseason it is a surprise that he isn’t signed.
The fact that he is unsigned, combined with the chances of him returning to Seattle as described as “slim to none” by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on 950 KJR, is an opportunity for Brandon Beane to make a big move to put this defense over the top.
The defensive end position was one of the need areas for the Buffalo Bills and with the cap space they had, the two seemed to be a perfect match. The Bills elected to go with more middle tier free agents, instead of a big splash, and added veteran Mario Addison to provide a boost.
While the addition of Addison is solid, he isn’t Jadeveon Clowney. The former first overall pick has some concerns like the fact that he never racked up sack totals, his career high is 9.5 sacks, and does have a injury history that likely tempered interest this offseason.
However, Clowney is a player that is excellent against the run, setting the edge and commands double teams regularly. The presence of Clowney allows the other players on the defensive line to get more favorable matchups and be more productive.
This is why the Buffalo Bills, at this point, should reach out to see if they can reach a deal with Jadeveon Clowney that is beneficial for both sides. For the Bills, they get a player that is an instant starter on this defensive line and shores up one of the defensive end positions. It also may not be as costly for the Bills if they make additional moves.
According to Spotrac, the Bills currently have $20.7 million in cap space available which would be exhausted if Clowney was given the average salary of $20 million that was predicted by Spotrac.
However, the Bills do still have some moves that can free up cap space. If the Bills were to add Clowney, they could release defensive end Trent Murphy that would free up just over $8 million in cap space.
If the two sides were able to agree on a two-year deal, with an annual salary of $16-$18 million the Bills would still have over $10 million in cap space this offseason.
As for Clowney, this gives him an opportunity to build back up his value playing in one of the top defenses in the league. A shorter term deal like this would also allow him an opportunity to reach that one big deal in the prime of his career at only 29 years of age.
The Buffalo Bills made the big splash on offense by trading for wide receiver Stefon Diggs and could do the same on the defensive side of the ball with Jadeveon Clowney. If the asking price has come down a bit, and coupled with the release of Trent Murphy to free up cap space, makes a great deal of sense for everyone involved.