Houston Texans: Best decision for now is to keep Jadeveon Clowney

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans tackles T.J. Yeldon #24 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at TIAA Bank Field on October 21, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans tackles T.J. Yeldon #24 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at TIAA Bank Field on October 21, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans have made it known they are shopping Jadeveon Clowney. Here’s why they need to keep him at this point.

The Houston Texans have been quite indecisive on their long term plans with defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney. One second they are debating which position group to label him for contract negotiation purposes, and next they are talking about trading him. They’ve not given Clowney a long term extension, nor have they traded him, and we are in mid-August. At this point of the preseason, the Texans should keep him.

For starters, Clowney is in a contract year and will certainly play at a stellar level. He’s got every incentive to ball out as this is essentially a 16 week job interview for him. Clowney has all the motivation to put his best play on film, as this is what his next contract will largely be based off of.

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That is exciting for Texans fans, as he’s been named to three consecutive Pro Bowls and has even been named first-team All-Pro, yet he could be in store for his best year to date. If the Texans haven’t seen enough of Clowney by now to be excited, maybe they just need one season of 13-plus sacks out of him to change course and sign him to an extension.

It is quite possible that the Texans need Clowney to show them why they need him on the roster, and the 2019 season could provide a grand opportunity for Clowney to do just that.

The Texans haven’t identified a replacement for Clowney either, and the likelihood of that happening at this point is slim to none.

Besides, there aren’t many players who could replace a 26-year-old top end edge rusher who is capable of playing defensive end or outside linebacker. Even if the Texans were to move him for draft picks, the reality is those players wouldn’t be able to make an impact this season anyways.

The earliest the Texans would be able to see any return on a trade for a draft pick would be next season obviously. If the Texans were to make a trade of Clowney for offensive line help — which they certainly could use — they would still not have identified a replacement for Clowney on defense.

Whitney Mercilus is still on the roster and has shown his capabilities as a pass rusher in his career, as he once had 12 sacks in a single season, but that was four years ago. Mercilus really hasn’t shown he still has the ability to play at that high of a level since then. Since that performance, Mercilus has only 12.5 sacks over the last three seasons combined. Mercilus has had a drop off due to his inability to stay healthy and also due to poor play.

In addition, Clowney is also much better in run support than Mercilus. Clowney had 16 tackles for loss in ’18, whereas Mercilus had five. In fact, Mercilus has never had as many tackles for loss in any of his seven individual seasons as Clowney had this past season. Furthermore, the Texans had Mercilus for two seasons prior to drafting Clowney, yet still chose to bring in Clowney with the No. 1 overall pick in 2014.

On top of that, the Texans moved Clowney to outside linebacker, which is exactly how they used Mercilus up to that point. Would the Texans have moved Clowney to outside if they felt Mercilus was balling out?

On top of all that, Houston clearly has holes in the back end of the defense. A great pass rush helps out the secondary, as the less time the quarterback has means the less time the defensive backs have to cover. Having Clowney on their side certainly would be more beneficial to the secondary than not having him at all, especially if the Texans would be trying to replace him with someone currently on the roster.

Considering how late in the process we currently are, the best bet for the Texans would be to keep Clowney for the ’19. Although they seem motivated on moving him, it is frankly too late to logically make such a move. The last team to make such a move this late in the process was the Oakland Raiders upon moving Khalil Mack last season, in which they acquired a haul of draft picks.

That season the Raiders also ranked last in the league in sacks with 13, which for them wasn’t a big deal because they were rebuilding their roster. The Texans are in “win now” mode, as they don’t know how much longer J.J. Watt has in the game. Plus, the Texans don’t want to waste DeAndre Hopkins‘ prime years, similar to how they did with Andre Johnson.

Next. Texans: Jadeveon Clowney and trade rumors. dark

It seems all reports point to Houston moving on from Clowney, but personally I believe given how much time they’ve allowed to pass without trading him, the smart choice would be to keep Clowney for the upcoming season.