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Red Zone Play: Just Pay Clowney Already

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Stop hedging bets and lock up one of the Texans’ superstars.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

In a league where the two most sought after positions not named quarterback are filled by people who either protect the quarterback’s blindside or try to get after the quarterback, placing a high value on that position makes sense. When you have someone who gets after the quarterback exceptionally well and was touted pre-draft as a “generational talent,” that high value should almost be a given. When that player gets injured early on, through no fault of their own, and then fights back against ridiculous odds to turn into one of the most terrifying physical specimens in the league, it’s a no brainer.

Yet for some reason, the Houston Texans haven’t locked up Jadeveon Clowney long-term.

Sure, you can make a (barely valid) argument that he has some question marks, and it is a lot of money. But those are playing card arguments that don’t hold water. What does that mean, you ask? In the classic movie “My Cousin Vinny,” Joe Pesci’s character Vincent Gambino used a playing card to show how from one point of view the prosecutors’ argument could seem solid and viable; once you turned it and inspected from a different angle, you realized it was as thin as, well, a playing card.

Injuries: Clowney has had, and continues to have, issues in regards to his health. So what? He hasn’t been 100% at any point in his career and he still manages to terrorize offenses, throwing offensive linemen, tight ends, and running backs around like rag dolls when he gets the upper hand. What’s more, after working with Mike Vrabel for some time, his technique is now every bit as solid as just about any other pass rusher in the NFL, which means he can bring his freakish talent to bear with intelligence and guile. After watching Brett Kollmann’s piece on him, the very idea that Clowney at 80% isn’t better than ANY OTHER OPTION Houston has to replace him is utterly ridiculous.

Money: Who cares? It’s not your cash going into Clowney’s pocket. The idea that the mainstream media brings so much drama to how much the players get paid is ridiculous anyway. Houston has the cap space and then some. Houston needs Clowney. Clowney needs to get paid. #DropTheMic

If this team has any hope of scoring a Lombardi Trophy anytime soon, they’re going to need J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and…Jadeveon Clowney. The four biggest stars on this team all need to be there, in full force, if there’s any hope of the Texans joining the Astros in bringing championships to H-Town.

Running the risk of Clowney holding out is essentially the same bullet to the foot as Clowney getting injured; if either happens, he’s a non-starter, literally. If there’s a chance of two negatives occurring, but you can remove the possibility of one of them by paying the man, why wouldn’t you do it?