Jadeveon Clowney: Trade possibilities for Eagles

Eliot Shorr-Parks
August 28, 2019 - 8:14 am
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Jadeveon Clowney seems to be there for the taking if the Eagles want him. 

That much is clear after a report came out on Tuesday afternoon that the pass rusher has two teams on his wish like, the Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks. Of course, Clowney has to be traded to either of those teams, something that the Miami Dolphins are reportedly trying to stop from happening. 

Still, if general manager Howie Roseman wants Clowney, it is hard to imagine he won’t be able to get a deal done. 

So should he make a deal for Clowney and go all-in on this season?

Here is an updated look at all of the different dynamics at play in a potential deal for Clowney, as well as some of the players the Texans might have interest in:

2019 Cap Space: The Eagles currently have just under $18 million in salary cap space according to the NFLPA. With Clowney’s franchise tag number at around $15 million, the Eagles have enough space to fit him under the cap without releasing any players. That is, of course, a large portion of their cap space and might impact their ability to make moves later on in the season, especially at the trade deadline. 

2020 Cap Space: Looking beyond 2019 is a must when deciding if a move for Clowney makes sense. Clowney will be a free agent at the end of this season, as the Eagles are not allowed to sign him to an extension until the 2019 season is over. Clowney is going to land a massive deal next offseason assuming he has the kind of dominant season the Eagles would hope 

for.

Recent deals handed out to pass rushers were to Dallas Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence, who landed a five-year, $105 million deal with $48 million guaranteed ($62 million practical guarantees). The contract has an annual average of $21 million. Kansas City handed Frank Clark a five-year, $104 million deal with $43.8 million guaranteed ($62 million practical guarantees), and an average just below $21 million. Clowney will likely top all of them next offseason if he has a big year. 

The Eagles are currently projected to have around $8 million in salary cap space in 2020 according to OverTheCap.com. That number will of course go up as it does every offseason with Roseman running the show. Any new deal for Clowney will also likely have a low first-year cap hit, a trademark of any Roseman deal. Spending $15 million on Clowney in 2019, however, prevents that money from rolling over into 2020 — which does have a big impact on how much space the Eagles have. 

Immediate need: Clowney coming to Philadelphia might result in a cut in playing time for one of the starters, but it would also address one of the biggest needs on the team — pass rush. Currently, both Barnett and Cox are limited in practice. Barnett is just starting to take team reps and Cox hasn’t even been at the last three practices. Even when Barnett is healthy, it is fair to wonder what the team will get from him considering he is coming off of a season-ending injury and has yet to show he can be a consistent, disruptive pass rusher as a starter. Behind Barnett and Graham are Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat, two players who combined for 2.5 sacks last season. 

Clowney would turn the Eagles’ defensive line from a question into one of the biggest strengths on the team, and teams in the NFL that have a dominant defensive line are normally the teams that win far more often than they lose. 

Long-term need: At just 26-years old, Clowney is still young enough to be a cornerstone of the Eagles’ team. There is no reason to think he won’t be able to play at an elite level for at least four more seasons. For the Eagles, that means he would be locked into one of the starting spots for years to come. As mentioned above, figuring out how to play Graham, Barnett and Sweat enough to keep all three happy could be an issue. Currently, however, the Eagles don’t have a sure-thing, dominant pass rusher they can count on for the foreseeable future. Clowney would check that box off for the Eagles in a major way. 

Nelson Agholor: Reports have suggested the Texans are looking for either an offensive tackle or a wide receiver in exchange for Clowney. The Eagles are deep at both positions, but especially at receiver. An offer of Nelson Agholor would make sense, as he is in the final year of his current deal and will be a free agent next offseason. Trading Agholor would also take around $9 million off the books, money that would help offset the cost of acquiring Clowney. Agholor is going to have a big role in the offense, but the Eagles could decide having Clowney at defensive end is more important than having Agholor on offense, especially with all of the other weapons they have on that side of the ball. 

Jordan Mailata: If the Texans are looking for a player that can step in and contribute right now, Mailata won’t be very appealing to them. Mailata has yet to take a snap in an NFL game, has only been playing football for one season and is currently dealing with a back injury. Mailata combined with a high draft pick, however, could be enticing to the Texans considering the potential many around the league believe Mailata has. With Andre Dillard on the roster the Eagles don’t have a long-term need for Mailata. 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai: Vaitai would be able to make an immediate impact for the Texans, as he could step in and play either tackle position right now if needed. Vaitai has also spent time learning guard this offseason, making him even more valuable to a Texans offensive line that is one of the worst in the league. Parting with Vaitai would not be easy for the Eagles, however, as he is currently expected to start at guard in Week 1 and is their best backup offensive linemen. 

You can follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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