Houston Texans: 3 free agents team should sign to a ‘prove it’ deal
By Neal Sharma
No. 2: Jadeveon Clowney
This is a name we are most likely all familiar with. Coming out of the 2014 Draft as the first pick for the Houston Texans, Jadeveon Clowney was known as a freakish athlete that could take any team’s defense to the next level.
After having on-and-off injury issues, Clowney finally had the kind of seasons that the Texans were hoping for in 2016-17, as he was the leader of one of the best defenses in the league despite the absence of three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
Considering the fact that he’s a three-time Pro Bowl selection at 28 years old, he would look like a highly desired free agent, but that’s without context. The reality is that there’s a lot of risk when it comes to signing Clowney.
To start, there has been a reputation around Clowney, as that reputation says his work eithic is a little lower than teams would like it to be. Clowney had his injury issues return once again last season, as he missed half of the season (the second half) last year playing for the Tennessee Titans after a torn meniscus.
Clowney was signed to a one-year, $12 million dollar contract ($15 million with incentives), but by the box score he struggled to live up to the contract. In eight games Clowney recorded 19 tackles, four tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, and no sacks.
Also with Clowney, he probably knows he isn’t going to get that big paycheck this offseason, but it’s likely he is looking for a team that can help him revive his career so he can earn the big contract he’s looking for. That likely means joining one of the best defensive teams in the NFL, that way he’s put in the best position possible to succeed.
The Houston Texans are far from that, as they are desperately in need for defensive pressure. After releasing Watt, the Texans are short on defensive lineman with experience. There are many guys the team has on the defensive line who have potential, such as Charles Omenihu, Jacob Martin, Ross Blacklock, etc.
They are all young and will need more experience before they can evolve into more solidified roles. If the Houston Texans defense won’t be able to pressure enough, then their weaknesses in the secondary will be exposed as well. The Texans don’t have any reliable corners behind Bradly Roby, who has had injury issues along with the recent suspension.
Despite the risk Clowney brings, he will still demand a lot of attention from the offensive line when he’s out there because offenses still know that it would be dangerous to just treat him as another regular pass rusher.
Is a Clowney-Texans reunion likely? Nope. They didn’t exactly depart from each other on the best of terms, as former head coach Bill O’Brien sent him off for a questionable return and the relationship between Clowney and the franchise kind of deteriorated on its own.
Considering the fact that Clowney is looking for a contender that can help elevate his play and use his services on the field, the Texans likely aren’t on his radar. With this situation in Houston, it’s very hard to imagine Clowney having a comeback season with the Texans.