2. The Texans can afford Clowney’s new contract
Before making further cuts, the Houston Texans are currently sitting pretty in terms of available cap space with $78 million to spend, per Over The Cap. Of course, they will need to use space later on to re-sign Will Fuller V, Deshaun Watson and others, but they’ve set themselves up well for the future by extending players at the right time in prior years.
Even if Clowney demands Khalil Mack type money (which I doubt, as Clowney hasn’t produced like Mack or Aaron Donald), the Texans can afford it and more. If the Texans decide to go the route of a franchise tag, they would pay him a shade over $18 million if designated as a defensive end, and a little less then $16 million if designated as a linebacker. Which would at most, drop the Texans to $60 million in available cap space in 2019.
If the Texans are interested in signing Clowney to a long-term deal, his market value, per Spotrac, would sit at around $16.6 million per year over a six-year $100 million deal.
Again, this is a number the team can afford both now and later, especially when you consider in the fact that the Texans will have $111 million open in cap space, per Over The Cap, in 2020 despite having J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, and Watson on payroll.