The New York Jets need an edge rusher. Badly. And Jets general manager Joe Douglas on Wednesday said that the team has been in contact with Clowney's representatives.
"We're going to do our due diligence on everybody that's out there, especially at the edge rusher position," Douglas said in a conference call with reporters. "I'm not going to get into the details of the conversations we've had."
Clowney has reportedly lowered his asking price in recent days – somewhere below $20 million per season –which would seem to at least open the door to him landing with the Jets.
But while it's not out of the question, it's likely not going to happen considering the Jets have stayed away from big contracts during free agency – they let their top free agent, Robby Anderson, depart for Carolina for only $12 million guaranteed. And as Douglas described his strategy after the first wave of free agency, it didn't sound as if he was on the verge of making a huge splash and signing Clowney.
"We had a lot of holes to fill," Douglas said. "Our plan was to be strategic and disciplined. ... I think that financial discipline is going to play a big role in helping us build a team that ultimately has flexibility moving forward and be a team that has continued, long-term success."
The Jets would also have to re-work their contracts to clear cap space if they wanted to make a big move, like signing Clowney. The Jets likely have less than $20 million in cap space remaining after their initial foray into free agency and they still have to do more work filling out the roster.
The Jets could address the edge rusher issue in the draft later this month; they have the No. 11 overall pick and own four selections in the top 79.
Douglas also said he was happy to re-sign Jordan Jenkins, the outside linebacker who leads the Jets with 15 total sacks over the past two seasons.
"We love the production he's had," Douglas said. "And talk about one of the best locker room guys we have."
But even though it seems unlikely that the Jets throw big money at Clowney, it's not completely out of the question because of the restraint they've shown in the initial weeks of free agency.
"We're going to look at multiple positions throughout the rest of free agency and the draft, and if there's a chance to upgrade I think we have the flexibility to do it."
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