RENTON -- The Seahawks are acquiring Houston Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney in exchange for a third-round pick, linebacker Barkevious Mingo and defensive end Jacob Martin, pending physicals, according to multiple reports.
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports was the first to report an agreement had been reached.
Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown sparked curiosity over whether his former Houston teammate could be in play for Seattle with a tweet late Friday night. The tweet was purely composed of six sets of googly eyes and was promptly retweeted by right tackle Germain Ifedi with a wide-eyed emoji as well.
Given the closeness of Brown and Clowney from their time with the Texans, it sparked immediate speculation that the Seahawks could be nearing a deal to acquire the former No. 1 overall draft pick.
Clowney, 26, had been a holdout from training camp with the Texans after being unable to reach an agreement with Houston on a long-term contract extension. Clowney had been given the franchise tag by Houston in March and the two sides had not come to an agreement prior to the July deadline. The Seahawks cannot engage Clowney in contract extensions until after the season is over due to rules for franchise tag players.
The Texans had tried to trade Clowney to the Miami Dolphins. However, Clowney had leverage to dictate his ultimate destination because he had to sign the franchise tag tender before being moved. Until doing so, he technically wasn't under contract with the Texans. Clowney reportedly was adamant that he did not want to play for Miami, a team that is in a rebuild and could be one of the worst teams in the league in 2019. When Clowney shut down Miami discussions, it appears the focus turned to the Seahawks.
The trade appears to be a windfall for Seattle on numerous fronts. Mingo appeared to be in serious danger of not making the team after a lackluster preseason. The Seahawks would save $4.1 million in cap space by trading or releasing Mingo at this stage. If he was on the Week 1 roster his full salary for the season would become fully guaranteed, which made his release all the more likely. Instead, he is heading to Houston along with Martin and a 2020 third-round pick. To add to the mix, if Seattle is unable to sign Clowney long-term after the season and he leave in free agency, the team could get a 2021 compensatory selection as high as a third-round pick in return for his departure.
So in summary, Seattle is sending a guy they likely were going to cut and a draft pick they may ultimately get back and Martin for a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end with 18.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
Clowney will now pair with Ezekiel Ansah as the Seahawks appear to have solved their pass rushing conundrum. When Jarran Reed returns after a six-game suspension, if healthy, the Seahawks would have among the best front sevens in the NFL on paper and thrust the Seahawks back into the conversation as a deep playoff run possibility.
Neither Ansah or Clowney are under contract beyond the 2019 season. They may be unable to keep both after this year but it gives them one season with both players in contract years to prove what they're worth to the league at-large.
Martin is an intriguing young player that had 3.0 sacks as a rookie after being a sixth-round pick last year. He showed potential in the preseason and was likely to see an increased role in Seattle's defense this season. However, his skill-set could be a better fit as an outside linebacker in Houston's 3-4 defense anyway.
The Seahawks are not shy about making trades on cut-down weekend. Just two years ago, they sent a second-round pick and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to the New York Jets in exchange for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. They've acquired cornerback Justin Coleman from the New England Patriots for a seventh-round pick in 2017 as well.
The Seahawks had been lacking in proven pass rushing production following the trade of Frank Clark in May. Ansah has proven he has double-digit sack potential in the past with the Detroit Lions but only returned to practice last week following shoulder surgery this offseason. Adding Clowney to the mix changes the entire outlook for the team's ability to get after opposing quarterbacks.
Clowney is reportedly in Seattle for his physical with Martin and Mingo headed to Houston for theirs. Clowney will then sign his franchise tag tender with Houston to facilitate the trade to the Seahawks. The physicals do matter. Two years ago, the Texans failed the physical of cornerback Jeremy Lane in a trade agreement to acquire Duane Brown at the trade deadline. The trade had to be revised to return Lane to Seattle and give an improved draft pick back in return to offset the lack of Lane's inclusion in the deal. Nothing will be official until the physicals are complete.
The Seahawks have until 1 p.m. to cut their roster to 53 players from the offseason 90-man limit. Having Clowney be a part of that grouping is a major coup for the franchise.
Photo Credit: LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans sacks Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)