Why Jadeveon Clowney likely not included in 49ers' edge-rusher search


The 49ers reportedly had free agents Ezekiel Ansah and Dion Jordan in for physicals Tuesday, presumably out of an interest to add depth on the edge behind Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. Ansah played for the Seahawks last season, while Jordan spent the two previous seasons with Seattle.

In keeping along with that theme, there is another free-agent edge rusher -- a much bigger name -- who also played for the Seahawks last season. But while the 49ers surely would love to sign former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, there's (almost) zero chance that would actually happen.

Simply put, Clowney is in a far different situation than Ansah and Jordan, and while San Francisco feasibly could add either of the latter two, the former is and will be far too expensive.

Like Clowney, Jordan and Ansah were highly-regarded talents coming out of college and were taken with the No. 3 and No. 5 overall picks, respectively, in the 2013 NFL Draft. Clowney went No. 1 overall the following year, but unlike him, both Jordan and Ansah now must prove themselves before either could expect a big payday. The only reason Clowney remains unsigned, on the other hand, is because he's currently waiting for one.

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The 49ers signed tight end Jordan Reed to an incentive-laden one-year contract Monday, and if they sign either Ansah or Jordan, you can expect it to be a similar type of low-risk, high-reward deal. That simply won't suffice for Clowney, though. Well, not unless he's willing to take that type of pay cut, and there's no reason to believe that he will.

Clowney will not get the lucrative contract he was hoping for and/or expecting upon entering free agency, but there are numerous teams with enough cap space to offer him more than the 49ers realistically could. It sure doesn't seem like he'll be headed back to Seattle, and while he could sign with San Francisco as a way to stick it to the team that didn't give him the contract he believes he is worthy of, don't count on that being ample motivation to do so.

His actual production last season -- only three sacks in 13 games -- likely is part of the reason why Clowney remains unsigned, as it doesn't match up with his reported demands. As the 49ers are well aware of, however, he can be a nightmare to go against, having recorded five quarterback hits, a sack, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and defensive touchdown in the Seahawks' overtime victory at Levi's Stadium last season.

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Inevitably, Clowney will sign for considerably less than he was hoping for. It still will be more than the 49ers can offer him, though, so don't expect him to be brought in for a physical, too.

At this point, the best realistic hope the 49ers can have regarding Clowney is that he signs outside of the NFC West, and preferably not with one of their 2020 opponents.