Well into the fourth day of training camp, there are no signs of Jadeveon Clowney. Here’s why I think the Houston Texans have themselves to blame.
The Houston Texans have been sending mixed signals on whether they want Jadeveon Clowney around long-term. There were reports that they fired former general manager Brian Gaine over his desire to keep Clowney long-term, although there is no way of proving that.
Personally, I like Clowney and like his potential even more. He’s only 26 years old and is in the prime of his career. There is the fact that he has three Pro Bowl selections and has shown versatility as a defensive end or outside linebacker. Players like that don’t just grow on trees.
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The Texans should be trying to find a way to keep him long-term as they’ve seen the play of Whitney Mercilus decline over the past several seasons. Not to mention the fact that J.J. Watt is only getting older and has shown reason to question whether or not he can stay healthy, although he did have a great rebound season in 2018.
The Texans seem to be disinterested in keeping Clowney long-term. They’ve given him a franchise tag, which will essentially means Clowney will likely not be coming to training camp despite Bill O’Brien‘s pleas to get him to come.
From Clowney’s standpoint, he doesn’t want to get hurt and jeopardize the opportunity to cash in during free agency next year, and that’s why the Texans have themselves to blame.
If they knew they didn’t have plans of keeping Clowney long-term why hadn’t they traded him by now? They’ve had all offseason to find a partner, which I’d imagine there would be many takers for Clowney.
That decision means the Texans have lost leverage in a trade because training camp is underway and teams know the Texans want to desperately move Clowney or else they’ll see him walk a year from now, a la Mario Williams. This is not to say it’s too late to trade him, but they should have done so by now.
Sure, you could use the Khalil Mack trade as proof that a trade could still be ironed out in August, but that was a different situation. That was the Oakland Raiders that had a new coach in Jon Gruden who hadn’t had any experience with Mack, whereas O’Brien has seen Clowney long enough to have known whether or not he wanted him for future seasons.
In addition, the Texans will surely receive a lesser package in return now that it’s gotten out how disinterested they are in giving Clowney a long-term deal.
Part of the problem may be that the Texans don’t have a general manager. They’ve allowed Gaine to make all of the roster decisions all offseason without addressing the Clowney situation and he is no longer with the franchise. Why wasn’t it a priority to move Clowney when they had a general manager?
What is about to happen is Clowney will surely ball out, as this is essentially a one-year job interview. This is Clowney’s opportunity to show the rest of the league he’s worthy of a big payday in the 2020 free agency signing period.
That said, the Texans had an opportunity for a good trade package if they had moved quick enough, which is assuming they do even trade him. It’s quite possible that Clowney wreaks havoc this season and the Texans are forced to see him walk, which would leave the Texans full of regrets.
Now Clowney is holding out, but it should never have even came to this. This should have been handled and taken care of early in the offseason if the Texans had played this right.
This is why I say the Texans have totally botched the Clowney situation and have themselves to blame for his holdout.