NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans definitely want in on Jadeveon Clowney who they see as a disruptive piece to their front who can help throw them over the top in 2020, a source tells me.

The two obstacles are exactly as has been speculated: his health and his price tag.clowney

(Photo courtesy Seattle Seahawks)

Recent reports suggest the team that traded for him from Houston last year, Seattle, may have faded as his potential home for 2020 – though that could be posturing. The Jets and Browns have been mentioned as other suitors. [Unlocked]

Some national NFL reporters and many hopeful Titans fans have presumed this level of interest to be the case for some time.

I have not, as there has been nothing beyond tangental reports and secondary mentions. Now, though, I believe the Titans want Clowney -- though the interest doesn’t mean they will land the biggest fish left in free agency.

The coronavirus pandemic prevents the Titans and other potential new teams from having their own doctor examine the seventh-year defensive end/ outside linebacker, who’s had core, back, knee, elbow, foot and ankle injuries. He's missed 21 games in six seasons. The Seahawks had an exit physical when their 2019 season wrapped, so they have the most current view of his health.Screen Shot 2020 04 08 at 7.38.53 PM

Reports indicate that Clowney has come off his $20 million-a-year expectation to more in the $17 million range. But given the lack of movement with him that number can still come down.

Per spotrac records, the Titans have $21,606,945 million in salary-cap space. Their rookie pool is $5.8 million, and a few of the most expensive picks will land in the most expensive 51 on the roster, knocking others out of the group that counts right now and taking up some additional space.

Still, the Titans would have to finagle the numbers and free up some money to fit even a $15 million cap hit.

Mike Vrabel is expected to call the defense for the Titans after Dean Pees retired and Vrabel didn’t name a new defensive coordinator.

Vrabel was Clowney’s defensive coordinator in his most productive sack season. Clowney got the quarterback down 9.5 times in 2017 for the Texans, the second of three consecutive Pro-Bowl seasons.

But he's not a traditional edge pass rusher who will necessarily produce double-digit sack numbers. Rather he's a big-time run-stopper who moves around and forces an offense to track him while potentially causing a variety of problems 

On April 1 in a conference call with Titans reporters, in response to a question about free-agent conversations, Jon Robinson said the Titans “have touched base with Clowney’s representation too, and just kind of seeing and trying to navigate where that one might be.”

The same day, I asked Vrabel about Clowney’s health and work ethic -- one of the issues critics connect with him.

“First is obviously the health issue, that’s not for me to decide," Vrabel said. "I know that when I coached JD, JD was prepared. We did a lot with him. We had a lot of injuries one year, we put him in a lot of different places to try to help us affect the game. He played extremely hard.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

“He played extremely hard, and I’m not sure if he missed any games that year or not. [He didn’t.] But we put him in a lot of different places, we asked him to do a lot, and he did do a lot for us. I never had an issue with any of JD’s effort on the field."

The Titans have added Vic Beasley to their edge group as their biggest outside addition of free agency. They've also re-signed Kamalei Correa. Those two along with Harold Landry, second-year man Derick Roberson and Reggie Gilbert make up the top five edge guys.

Clowney was listed as a defensive end in last season's Seahawks' 3-4, but as the Jack linebacker in the Texans' 3-4 the year before and when Vrabel called the defense.

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