Today is the day.
The Texans placed the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney earlier this offseason. This was done to keep Clowney from becoming an unrestricted free agent, ensuring the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft wouldn’t be free to leave Houston for another team in free agency. The tag also gave the Texans additional time to reach agreement on a new, long-term contract with Clowney. Or they’d be able to trade him without “losing an asset for nothing,” as the nerds like to say.
At the time, tagging him seemed like a natural progression toward Clowney getting extended to play in Houston for the next five years or so. The Texans had, and still have, plenty of cap space. Clowney is about to enter his prime. He is already a top run defender and should become a better pass rusher. The Texans have two pass rushers, Clowney and J.J. Watt, on their entire roster. That’s it. They rely on those two to drag quarterbacks to hell to prevent opposing offenses from shredding a lousy secondary.
Clowney has also been healthy the last three seasons and has become a cornerstone on one of the league’s better defenses. A great player is about to play the best football of his career. Keeping him happy and playing in Houston should have been a no-brainer.
Yet these reasons weren’t enough for Houston for whatever reason. As the internal front office drama played out over the last month, the Texans never found any real middle ground to extend Clowney. Now the time has come and swallowed up the opportunity for either side to reach an agreement. 3 p.m. CDT today is the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign multi-year deals with their teams. After this afternoon, tagged players will either be traded or have to play under the franchise tag for the 2019 season. Negotiations for future deals with Clowney or other tagged players can’t take place until after the 2019 season is over.
“The deadline to sign franchise-tagged players to a multi-year contract is coming up on Monday, July 15 at 4 p.m. ET. After that point, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his club for the 2019 season, and the deal cannot be extended until after the team’s last regular-season game.
Players may sign the tender at any point after officially being tagged. Until the tender is inked, the team can rescind the franchise or transition tag. Once the sheet is signed, the player’s salary is guaranteed for that season. If a player does not sign the tender, they remain without a contract, and therefore are not subject to fine schedules for skipping offseason workouts (as we saw with Bell last year). A player who has not signed the tender can also not be traded.”
Zero reports have come out that Houston and Clowney have an agreement in place or are anywhere close to reaching one. In fact, the reports are just the opposite; all signs point to a deal not getting done. Houston will either trade Clowney, or Clowney will sit out for all of or the majority of training camp and preseason before cramming everything in the night before to play once the regular season starts in New Orleans.
Who knows what will happen? One thing is for sure: The Texans should have already extended Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans have done a terrible job in many ways since the 2018 season ended, and this should have never happened to begin with.