The Case against…. Clowney trades

The Case against…. Clowney trades
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Here we look at the case against…. Clowney trades. With rumours abound of a trade in the offing, I play devil’s advocate and look at the reasons why a trade doesn’t make sense

Since entering the league in 2014 as the number 1 overall pick, Clowney has developed a somewhat unfair reputation as being injury prone. Despite playing in 4 games his rookie season, he has only missed 6 games combined in the 4 seasons since. 

Jadaveon Clowney of the Houston Texans is the last player still under the franchise tag for the 2019 season. Rumours are rife that he may be traded out of Houston. . 

Clowney’s stats

 Clowney was a much hyped prospect coming out of South Carolina. It was a surprise to noone when he was selected at the top of the draft by the Houston Texans. He has been selected for 3 Pro-bowls on his first 5 years in the league. He also won 2 team all-pro honours in 2016. Surely teams should be falling over themselves to acquire him? 

Clowney has been very good since entering the league. But not elite. His highest sack total in a season was 9.5 back in 2017. Although a decent total, he is not in the league of Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack when it comes to disrupting the QB. However, who is? 

Clowney Trades – who benefits?

 It’s not Clowney’s productivity that teams should baulk at when considering a trade. It’s the potential cost for essentially a 1 year rental that teams have to be careful of. Nothing could stop Clowney just walking away from any potential suitor at the end of 2019. The Texans could keep hold of Clowney, and garner a compensatory 3rd round pick if he leaves as a free agent. For every week Clowney sits out, the Texans gain nearly $1m back in his salary to use in next year’s cap space. They already are projected to have top 5 cap space for 2020 and they’d happily take more. If he comes back, they have a higher end pass rusher on their roster. It’s really no lose for them. 

Any deal would have to be worth either a 1st or 2nd rounder to the Texans to pique their interest. Unless you are willing to give Clowney a huge contract, and be confident he wants to be there beyond, trading a 1st or 2nd round pick for a year makes no sense. Clowney, almost certainly, would be looking for a contract that would make him the highest paid pass rusher. Is he worth Aaron Donald money? 

Player Trades

 The Texans, it has been rumoured, would consider a player trade. Houston were gazumped by the Eagles in the draft when they looked poised to snag Andre Dillard. Left Tackle is a glaring need. This much is fairly obvious. When a team’s QB can’t fly to a game due to the pummelling he took the week before, you know there is an issue. Both O-line acquisitions in the draft are projected to start at the guard positions. Nevertheless, with Left tackles at a premium, suspicions would have to be raised as to why a team would offer this up. Ageing, ineffective, or injury prone tackles are not what the Texans need. Trent Williams of the Redskins had been mooted, but he’s the wrong side of 30 and last completed 16 games back in 2013. 

 If Clowney does get traded he would need to sign his franchise tag tender, something he has yet to do. 

Final Thoughts

If Bill O’Brien  is dead set against resigning Clowney long term, then him staying put makes sense. The Texans will get a 3rd round compensatory pick, those wanting Clowney can get him without giving up draft capital, and Clowney gets a payday somewhere. Clowney trades at this juncture aren’t as appealing as they may seem

image: USA today Sports

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