NFL free agency action, including Seahawks' Clowney, slowed by COVID-19 outbreak
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the sports world. Major League Soccer has further postponed its 2020 season for eight more weeks. On Thursday, the league said it remains focused on playing the entire season and that it's "evaluating all options."
Meanwhile, the National Football League has not had to take any action regarding its season, at least not yet. And the league actually conducted business this week. KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel talked about that with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.
FREE AGENCY STYMIED
Thiel said the free agency period began Monday. But COVID-19 is restricting travel and that's keeping teams from having players they might want to acquire receive physicals by their doctors.
"And you have to have an exam before a player contract is signed," Thiel said. "So that means that all the information you're hearing now is about proposed deals and nothing being official. This thing could linger for some time. It's really delaying the whole business of the NFL player acquisition period."
"One of the Seahawks top players, (defensive end) Jadeveon Clowney, is a pending free agent," Thiel said. "The complication is the other teams don't know his full health. He had an operation in the offseason to repair an abdominal muscle tear. It plagued him for the second half of last season and probably diminished his effectiveness as a player. The Seahawks would like to resign him. But another team really can't take the chance on paying top dollars for damaged goods. So we wait to see who budges."
WHAT'S IN THE WAY
"The Seahawks are constrained by the salary cap," Thiel said. "They don't want to pay top of market for Clowney and give him a three- or four-year deal because they have other positions to fill and other players to pay."
Thiel said Clowney wants to be top of market.
"That's a really elite category and he didn't have the kind of season that merits that kind of pay. But they really do have to get this guy signed. The weakest part of the Seahawks game last year was the pass rush. And that's the thing that Jadeveon Clowney does best. But it's going to take a while."
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