Houston Texans: Assessing Jadeveon Clowney’s contract situation
Despite promising early reports that indicated that a Jadeveon Clowney contract extension was in the works during the offseason, the reality is it could continue until the end of the 2018 season.
Several possible factors might have a played a role that could explain why an agreement hasn’t already occurred between the Houston Texans and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, as dealing with several injuries and surgeries have kept him from fully participating in the past.
No matter how much a team loves a player, they have to make sure that the player can stay healthy and play at a high level. Clowney seems to fit this criteria, as he is an exceptional football player, but one also has to put themselves in the shoes of the front office and be conscious of the future financial commitment.
Texans general manager Brian Gaine is familiar with Clowney since he was with the organization when they drafted him with the first overall pick in 2014. It’s important, for the sake of negotiations, for there to be an existing relationship.
However, it doesn’t benefit Clowney’s camp to commit to a deal so early. Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack are still awaiting their next contract, and Clowney could benefit from using their deals as leverage to negotiate for a better deal.
Clowney is, in fact, a former No. 1 overall pick, so it would look foolish for a player of his caliber to make less money than the players that were drafted after him. Signing a contract extension is similar to buying a new car – the moment you take it out of the lot, it loses value.
In this case, Clowney’s deal could be the floor for defensive players of his caliber like Mack and Donald. Clowney has paid his dues, and he’ll certainly get the bag from an NFL team next offseason.
Gaine has put an emphasis on developing and giving contract extensions to players like Clowney, although John McClain of the Houston Chronicle wrote about how Gaine has made it clear that he doesn’t endorse the concept of negotiating deals during the season:
"I would much prefer contracts be done before the season starts,” he said. “When the season starts, we want our players and coaches to be focused on football performance and not the business part of it.”"
With less than two full weeks to the start of the regular season, Clowney is still recuperating from the knee surgery he had during the offseason but played well in the preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams.
I think the Texans will take their chances and let Clowney play on his fifth-year option they exercised last year. Clowney could put himself in a great financial situation, similar to how AJ Bouye did a couple seasons ago when he signed a $67.7 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Texans would still dictate Clowney’s future and can prevent him from leaving the franchise by utilizing the franchise tag, so both sides have reason to wait and see how everything plays out.
Would the Texans want to secure Clowney for the future? Absolutely. Does Clowney want financial long-term security? No doubt.
The Texans want to know how much money to invest in him, while Clowney is looking for the best deal in his own interest. The NFL is a business, after all, and both sides have enough incentive to push the date further down the road.