As the deadline for franchise tagged players to sign a new deal passed it was clear the Houston Texans and star pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney were not on the same page. The Texans, who are currently sans a General Manager. Have made it clear from their actions this offseason that paying Clowney was not priority one.
Clowney and his camp haven’t hidden their displeasure at the player being slapped with the tag. Clowney is almost certain to sit out training camp this summer. This will be a huge blow to the Texans in a position group that is their biggest strength. In a majorly competitive division such as the AFC South, the Texans will need all their major stars to be firing on all cylinders for the season to be successful.
Is Clowney Worth The Money?
The number one pick in the 2014 draft, Clowney has had a mixed career with the Texans. Coming out of South Carolina Clowney had huge athletic upside. A highlight reel of hits like the one below against Michigan in the Outback bowl only added to the hype.
Clowney has never has a double digit sack season. Some of that will be down to playing with a legend like JJ Watt alongside him. However even with Watt’s significant time missed through injury, Clowney has failed to live up to the superstar billing he earned in college.
Doing Clowney Dirty?
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported after the deadline that the saga may not be finished after all. The NFLPA is expected to file a grievance against the Texans after they assigned Clowney the LB position on his tender. The LB position had a lower franchise tag tender that the DE tender.
This is just another instance of turmoil from a Texans front office that has seen a huge amount of upheaval this offseason. The firing of general manager Brian Gaine in early June rocked the league. To affect such change when one of the top players on your team is up to negotiate a contract does not strike you as the best way to run a team.
Making the Most of Watson’s Rookie Deal
Budding superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson is still on a cheap rookie deal. It is in the best interest of the Texans to surround Watson with superstar players and make the most of his first contract. The Texans have wasted the ability to have first crack at negotiating a deal with Clowney, now they will have to take their shot alongside a number of other teams next offseason.
Clowney Will Be Paid, But By Whom
One thing is clear, barring a freak injury Jadeveon Clowney will get paid next offseason. There are a shortage of top level pass rushers in the league and teams are not afraid to splash the cash. It seems unlikely that Clowney will be a Texan beyond this season. It feels like there has been too much disfunction this offseason.
A number of teams will have both the cap space and positional need to sign the premier rusher next offseason. One team to watch are in the division, with the Indianapolis Colts have both the need and the cap space. This would be the worst case scenario for the Texans. Having to face an angry Clowney twice a year with a less than stellar history on the offensive line is a recipe for disaster.
Whether and when Clowney sees the field will define the Texans season. With him in the lineup they are a much scarier defense. Clowney forms a brilliant tandem with JJ Watt. If the team wants to be successful in 2019, they need to make sure Clowney sees the field. Ideally with a full training camp behind him.
Image – USA Today