The Buffalo Bills are one of the many landing spots being thrown around in the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes discussion. However this week reports came out that Clowney would prefer to play for either the Philadelphia Eagles or Seattle Seahawks.
One of the biggest challenges any team faces signing Clowney at this point in time is largely due to the Houston Texans’ inability to negotiate a long-term deal with Clowney prior to July 15th—a key date when Houston tagged him with the DE/OLB franchise-tag designation. As such, he must now play the 2019 season under that tender. Clowney cannot sign a new multi-year deal with any team until the 2020 free agency period begins. Further clouding matters, on Tuesday Albert Breer tweeted the following:
The Texans did engage teams on Jadeveon Clowney some in the spring. The belief then, according to multiple clubs involved, was that he could be had for a second-round pick.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 27, 2019
Prior to that key date of July 15th, Clowney was apparently available for only a second-round pick. Additionally, trading at that point would’ve meant teams could have attempted to negotiate a new multi-year contract in hopes of keeping Clowney off the free-agent market in 2020.
Let’s assume for a second that somehow the Bills do land Clowney, and in turn send a second-round pick to the Texans. Would a move like this be in the Bills’ best interest—or would it be a reach on the part of Brandon Beane?
Let me be clear: Clowney, talent-wise, is probably worth giving up a first-round pick but— given the context of how his career has been shaped so far—a second- or third-round pick is much more realistic. To be fair, Clowney has been a dominant presence on the field and he’s been more consistent in the past three seasons, but his work ethic has been a point of concern. Bills fans are all too familiar with these kinds of concerns having seen a similar situation with Marcell Dareus. If a trade did occur the Bills would also acquire Clowney’s 15-million-dollar extension, which is a heavy price for what could be a one-year rental. So the looming question remains: What happens after 2019? Will he continue to perform at a high level or will Clowney be another player who gets his payday and fades into the wood work?
The other factor in all of this is Brandon Bean’s track record with making moves for players and draft picks. Since becoming the Bills’ general manager there are very few—if any—situations one can point to where Beane has completely whiffed. Beane has managed to protect Buffalo's major assets and still make significant moves in the draft and offseason. With that in mind you can picture what a trade for Clowney might look like. A second-round pick including a player like Shaq Lawson and/or Zay Jones. With the improvements to the wide-receiver room this wouldn't be a very big hit, personnel wise.
With all these factors in mind I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a move made where the Bills give up a second-round pick and players like Lawson and Jones. I think he can bring a lot to an already elite defense and while a one-year rental for 15 million would be a big hit, Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane might be exactly what Clowney needs to take the next step in his career. Besides the cap hit and with Beane’s history of personnel moves, it seems like a low-risk, high-reward situation.