On Thursday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed confidence in his team's pass rush heading into the season. What he didn't say, however, was that the Seahawks wouldn't continue looking to get better.
As Seahawks general manager John Schneider always says, roster building is a constant, ongoing process, and on Sunday the Seahawks indeed upgraded their pass rush in a significant way, acquiring three-time Pro-Bowler Jadeveon Clowney in a trade with the Houston Texans. In exchange for Clowney, the Seahawks are sending the Texans two players, Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo, and a 2020 third-round pick.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Clowney is the second defensive end with a Pro-Bowl résumé that the Seahawks have added in 2019, joining Ziggy Ansah, who was signed as a free agent in May.
Since joining the Texans in 2014 as the No. 1 overall pick out of South Carolina, Clowney has appeared in 62 games, recording 205 tackles and 29 sacks. After battling some injuries early in his career, Clowney has missed only three games over the past three seasons, and he recorded 18.5 sacks over the past two years. Clowney has been named to the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons, and was a second-team All-Pro in 2016. Clowney recorded 16 tackles for loss in 2016, 21 in 2017, and 16 last year.
While defensive ends are usually best known for their pass-rush ability, Clowney is also an excellent run defender, as the Seahawks experienced firsthand when they hosted the Texans in 2017, a game in which Clowney had two tackles for loss on running plays in addition to a sack that caused a fumble.
"(Clowney) played great football," Carroll said following that win over Houston. "We thought we would be able to run the ball some, but he was a big factor in causing problems in the backfield."
Clowney will join Ansah to give the Seahawks a potentially formidable edge rush now that Ansah is returning to health. Ansah missed all four preseason games while recovering from the shoulder injury that ended his 2018 season, as well as a minor groin injury, but returned to practice last week.
"Ziggy has been in our minds the whole time that he was going to make it," Carroll said after Thursday night's game. "He went through pregame tonight, he practiced during the week, he'll practice this next week and he's ready to go. The docs have given him the ready to go as long as he makes it through the days, so we'll have a plan on how to do that. I'm thrilled. This is a guy we expected to come in and be a big factor for us. He plays really hard, he's really a tough guy, and that kind of mentality coming along with the big ability that he has will fit really well, and we'll put that together."
Martin, a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft, had nine tackles and three sacks last year, but came on strong late in the season and, prior to this trade, figured to have a significant role in Seattle's defensive line rotation. Mingo, a former first-round pick who signed with Seattle last year, started at strongside linebacker in 2018 while also being one of the team's best special teams players. The Seahawks had been working on converting Mingo to more of a pass-rush role for 2019.
The Seahawks acquired Jadeveon Clowney in a trade with the Houston Texans. Take a look back at some of the best photos of the Pro Bowl defensive end.