Seahawks finalize deal to acquire Clowney from Texans
Seattle bolstered one of its biggest needs heading into the season by landing Clowney after his contract dispute with the Texans. Even if it turns out to be a one-year rental, the Seahawks may have solved their need for an elite pass rusher for a team that should be a contender in the NFC.
The Seahawks sent veteran former first-rounder Barkevious Mingo and second-year pass rusher Jacob Martin to Houston. Mingo was moved to defensive end during the offseason after spending the past few seasons playing outside linebacker. Martin, a sixth-round pick in 2018, showed flashes of potential in his rookie season but had just three sacks and was going to be a situational pass rusher this season.
Clowney held out from training camp with the Texans. The outside linebacker was unhappy about Houston using the franchise tag on him and no progress on a long-term contract. But the Seahawks had both the salary-cap space to absorb Clowney's cost and the need for help on the defensive line.
Seattle also re-signed quarterback Geno Smith on Sunday to serve as the backup to Russell Wilson. Smith was temporarily released on Saturday as part of the cuts to get to the 53-man roster limit as Seattle needed the extra spot to reach the mandated roster limit. The trade of Mingo and Martin opened up the needed roster spot and the veteran quarterback was brought back. Smith beat out Paxton Lynch for the backup job during the preseason.
The 26-year-old Clowney is a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He had nine sacks in 15 games last season. He had a career-high 9 ½ sacks two years ago when he played a full NFL season for the only time. His speed coming off the edge could create all manner of trouble for opposing offensive tackles, especially playing in the noise of Seattle.
This is second time Seattle has made a trade at the end of training camp to acquire an elite pass rusher. Two years ago, Seattle landed Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets for a second-round pick and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
Pass rush has been one of Seattle's primary concerns during the offseason after trading Frank Clark to Kansas City before the April draft. The Seahawks signed Ziggy Ansah in free agency, but he's been sidelined throughout training camp recovering from shoulder surgery and returned to limited work in practice only last week. What Seattle saw during the preseason from its other potential defensive ends didn't instill sufficient confidence that the loss of Clark could be filled internally.
Seattle will also play the first six games without suspended defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Reed had a career-high 10 1/2 sacks last season.
NOTES: Seattle announced six signings to its practice squad: WR Jazz Ferguson, WR Terry Wright, TE Jacob Hollister, CB Simeon Thomas, G Jordan Roos, T Elijah Nkansah. All six were in training camp with the Seahawks.