Even though the Houston Texans don’t have a sole general manager in July 2019, they are making a big mistake in Jadeveon Clowney contract talks.
It was all but certain the Houston Texans and Jadeveon Clowney weren’t going to come to a deal when the 3 p.m. CT deadline came on Monday, but that doesn’t mean it was the correct choice made by the Texans, either.
General manager or not, the Texans are seemingly going to let Clowney have an opportunity to walk following what will be his sixth season with the franchise, as he has the franchise tag on him this upcoming season. Clowney has yet to agree to the franchise tag offer, and it seems like there is more drama to come with that situation as well.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter had the following tweets on Monday about the Texans and Clowney situation:
Schefter also had this tweet about why the grievance could happen:
Now, the question is will Clowney be labeled as a linebacker or a defensive end? Pro Football Focus has Clowney listed as an edge player from the 2018 season, a season where Clowney was the third-rated defensive player on the roster last season. In ’18, Clowney had an overall grade of 88.0, where he graded at 91.2 in rush defensive situations and 87.2 in coverage.
Clowney is coming off his best grade of his five-year career this past year, a season where he played his most snaps at 967, as his previous career high was 895 in 2017, a season where he was graded at 75.4.
Since Clowney comes off the edge, and the fact he’s given the Texans five years of his NFL career, the Texans need to pay him like a defensive end. He deserves the extra $1.6 million not only for what he brings to the defense, but it is a token of appreciation in the contract talks between them and Clowney, as things don’t need to get worse between the two sides.
If the Texans pay Clowney as a defensive end and allow him to gain the $1.6 million extra, they would make the correct decision in that point. The question is: have they let this contract negotiation get away from them?
In a way, the Texans have let the contracts talks get away because now Clowney will most likely miss most of training camp because of this situation, putting him and the defense behind in a season where they really need to be at the top of their game with the Indianapolis Colts looming in the AFC South.
The way the Texans are playing their hand is a bit of a gamble for the Texans, because let’s say Clowney has the best year of his career — then the price will skyrocket for the edge rusher in the contract talks. Even if Clowney has a year similar to last season, that too will cause the Texans to dig deep into their bank account. Worse yet, if a deal doesn’t get done, would the team think of trading him to make sure they get a good return on all of the investment they’ve made in Clowney over the past five years?
Don’t think a star defensive player can’t be traded before the season? Look back to no longer than last season when Khalil Mack was traded by the Oakland Raiders to the Chicago Bears.
Clowney and the Texans could be in store for a messy ending, and that would be the worst scenario of all, but all in all, the Texans are making the wrong choice by not paying up for Clowney before the start of this season.
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