Jadeveon Clowney franchise tag week continues here at Battle Red Blog with this week’s group think. Mike Bullock asked us two questions. One, what do you think Houston should do with Jadeveon Clowney this offseason, and two, what would you do with Jadeveon Clowney this offseason. These are our responses:
1.) Tag him, and see what happens in 2019. Best case scenario we get another year of “contract hungry Clowney” and he helps us win a Super Bowl before our team becomes super hella expensive. Worst case, he continues to be that ALMOST dominant kinda player, but not quite, and we get a third round comp pick for him when someone else throws 20 million a year at him.
2.) Probably exactly what I just described - tag him and see what happens in 2019.
Tag him. Am I the only one who thinks he still hasn’t quite reached his ceiling yet? There’s something about him that screams elite-but-not-quite-there-yet. The type of player who we would look back and regret moving on from when he wins DPOY for the 49ers.
1.) JD Clowney has CLEARLY and INARGUABLY earned a long-term deal. That said, if the only option to sign him long-term is for Mack/Donald money then they should absolutely franchise tag him. I do think he will want top money, so my vote is for the tag. If he’s willing to settle for a reasonable amount less than those guys, then I want to see him get the long-term deal (this is purely fantasy, I’m sure).
2.) They will tag him. I do not think he’ll pull a Le’veon Bell (sit all year) nor do I think he’ll pull a Duane Brown (sit until he has to report to earn a year of accrual)... but I do think he will at least wait to report a week before the regular season. He’ll then get off to a very slow start along with some of those minor injuries associated with missing camp, etc., but eventually will be the same guy - no worse... maybe better?
Tagging him makes sense short term. Yes I still think he has more to show us but we might regret if he does show us his full potential this next year. I don’t think he has earned Mack or Donald cash yet from a statistical standpoint. So the Texans may not have to pay him as such. BUT if he does have a stellar season on a franchise tag, then the Texans will have to pay him as much if not more than those two players.
I’d hate to pay him less money for one year and consequently have to pay him more for the next four years. I say pay the man what he is worth and wipe your hands of a potentially bad situation. Set a tone for the franchise that if you play well you will get paid well.
1.) Resign him long term with injury based escape clauses and elevator incentives for staying available.
2.) What will they do? Probably franchise tag him and then lose him to another team who throws more money his way - the odds of another defensive coordinator not thinking they can get more out of Clowney tan RAC has so far are pretty slim. Every ball coach thinks they can do more with a favored player than the coaches who’ve had him before. Not sure if they could, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the Ram take a run at him... or the Colts...
1.) I love me some Clowney and Watt, but given how the “new” NFL officiating allows offensive linemen to hold with wanton-abandon, I no longer see the point in investing in “elite” pass rushers. Just load the defensive line with hefty hogs to stuff the run, stack tweener linebackers who can cover tight ends, and build an elite secondary to buy time for [insert “slightly-above-average” front seven dude] to spoil the QB’s efforts.
That being said, franchise tag (exclusive) Clowney for 2019. If someone makes an offer and Houston doesn’t match, they get two 1st round picks. If they let him walk in free agency, they get a late 3rd round compensatory pick (damn near a 4th).
2.) Probably tag him initially and then negotiate a long-term deal just under the target guaranteed of Donald, putting Clowney in lower range of top-5 paid DL.
1.) I love Clowney so, so, so, so, so much. I want him to stay here long term more than anything. He deserves a five-year $18 million a year contract. He held the front seven together in 2016 once J.J. Watt went down. He was their best defensive player in 2017. And last season he was every bit as good as Watt was. The production doesn’t match because Clowney didn’t do anything until week four after missing training camp, and Watt was able to demolish crappy back up right tackles like Chad Wheeler, Denzelle Good, and Corey Robinson. That lies the problem with Clowney though. Even though he’s been healthy the last three seasons, there will always be those injury concerns. Missing training camp and not being ready for 2018 is a legitimate issue. With him, and Watt’s injury history, I don’t think you can devote that much of your cap space to two players who can miss entire seasons at any time.
As much as I love him, I would tag him this year because of this. The lower risk deal outweighs the benefit of front loading Clowney’s contract now while Deshaun Watson is on his rookie contract. He’s still only 26. They can extend him next year anyways, and still have him for the prime of his career.
2.) They can’t let him get away and risk losing him after not being able to negotiate a long term contract. Without him this defense is terrible. They need both Watt and Clowney, and Clowney is also a cornerstone defender and could be the bridge in the post-Watt era, whenever that maybe. They’ll probably end up tagging him, and then extending him before the start of the 2019 season, or right after the 2019 season.