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Why Jadeveon Clowney chose to sign a contract with the Titans over the Saints and Seahawks

The Saints were doing everything they could to give Jadeveon Clowney everything he could want. A team with deep playoff aspirations in 2020, New Orleans sent what NFL Media called “an all-out blitz” to try to sign the free-agent pass rusher a few days ahead of Week 1.

The Saints’ biggest issue, it appears, is they didn’t have Mike Vrabel. The Titans did, and they also were able to offer more money on a one-year contract for the 27-year-old.

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ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported Saturday night that Clowney had chosen Tennessee over New Orleans as his landing place for the season. Clowney then told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that his decision “came down to familiarity over economics.”

That familiarity is Clowney’s history with Vrabel. Now entering his third season as the Titans’ head coach, Vrabel was the Texans’ defensive coordinator in 2017 when Clowney had his best statistical NFL season. Vrabel also served as Houston’s linebackers coach from 2014, the year Clowney was drafted No. 1 overall, through 2016.

The Titans are giving Clowney a one-year deal worth up to $15 million, according to multiple reports. He earned $8 million on a one-year deal with the Seahawks last season after he was traded from Houston to Seattle in September.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported the Seahawks had “continued to monitor” Clowney’s free agency “but didn’t feel (they were) really in it at the end.” Seattle simply was not willing to offer him more than $12 million.

Of course, the money didn’t hurt Tennessee’s case against New Orleans in the battle to sign a player that had been waiting so long for the right opportunity. Russini reported Sunday that “the Saints offer was lower by roughly $2 million after moving cash around. Tennessee offered this deal late Saturday morning, and locked it up by late Saturday afternoon.”

ESPN’s Dan Graziano added that the Saints “spent (the) latter part of the week talking to some vets on their roster about reworking contracts to create cap room, trying to talk Clowney into coming there for less.” The Titans had an edge financially with roughly $21 million in cap space vs. about $3.5 million for the Saints.

Multiple reports indicated the Saints were trying to leverage their Super Bowl aspirations in their Clowney pursuit, but that rang hollow considering Titans are coming off a season that ended with a loss in the AFC championship game.

The one-year contract in Tennessee gives Clowney yet another chance to prove his value on the field and hit free agency again in 2021. He registered 3 sacks, 13 QB hits and 7 tackles for loss in 13 games for Seattle last season, also contributing as a stout run defender.

With Cameron Wake and Jurrell Casey gone from the Titans’ roster, they needed another pass-rusher like Clowney to pair with third-year outside linebacker Harold Landry. 



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