Not extending Jadeveon Clowney in March or April or May or June or now in July has been extremely stupid. He’s a top run defender on the best run defense in football. He’s only 26 years old and is about to enter the prime of his career. As a pass rusher, he just needs to clean up his moves a bit and have a plan once his first move is stopped.
The Texans still have $40+ million in cap space and will have $70+ million next offseason. Clowney warrants a monster contract. The Texans didn’t give it to him when they should have. The only real reason not to extend Clowney is if his knee is littered with holes like the surface of Mercury, but Clowney has been healthy the last three seasons and has turned into a dominant player. If this is the case, the Texans see something that can’t be seen from the basement.
A deal not coming into place as the deadline came and went wasn’t surprising. It was expected. The Texans are going to force Clowney to play under the franchise tag in 2019. This concerned me at first. After missing training camp last year as he recovered from offseason knee surgery, Clowney was invisible until he was relentless against the Indianapolis Colts in Week Four when Houston saved their 2018 season. It took him a while to get going. With a torrential onslaught of great passing offenses and only one other viable pass rusher on the roster in 2019, Houston needs Clowney to be great right away, right now, and missing the entirety of training camp seems like a recipe for a slow start.
The other concern is the team/player relationship itself. Why strain a relationship that doesn’t need to be strained? If Clowney wants to be here, and the cap space is here, go for it. Finish it. Make it happen. A team doesn’t destroy its cap space by paying great players a lot of money; it does it by paying bad or mediocre players a lot of money. Clowney isn’t bad or mediocre. I had concerns Clowney would ‘sit out’ this season to make sure he stays healthy to receive his big contract next offseason. Teams are always desperate for pass rushers, so if you’re Clowney, why not sit out this year entirely or force a trade next season if Houston still doesn’t want to give him the type of deal he deserves?
These concerns and worries that grew gray hairs have been dyed. I feel a little bit better now after Aaron Wilson broke down the Clowney contract situation as well as anyone can. Who says newspapers are dead?
First, Wilson discusses the contract situation itself: When Houston can re-sign Clowney and the team’s plans for him.
The Texans are at a stalemate with Jadeveon Clowney heading into camp next week after Monday’s deadline to sign a franchise player passed without any movement.
The team also has no plans now to trade Clowney, who was the subject of aborted discussions earlier in the offseason.
Under the NFL collective bargaining agreement rules governing franchise players, Clowney now can’t be signed to a new contract this season.
As an unsigned franchise player, Clowney is not required to report for camp and can miss the entire preseason without financial penalty.
Clowney, however, is expected to report and sign his $15.967 million franchise tender prior to the start of the regular season Sept. 9 against the New Orleans Saints, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
Wilson also mixed in words Clowney muttered at the end of last season. He’s working hard, he’s going to be ready for this season, he wants to come back to Houston, and he’s spent the summer becoming a better player. Hopefully the offseason didn’t sour him on that plan and he still feels this way.
“Of course, I want to come back,” Clowney said when asked at the end of the season about the franchise tag. “I promise to the Texans and whoever else is watching that I’m going to be a much better, improved player next season. I haven’t been thinking about a contract.
“If I come back and play well like I know I’m going to, contract will take care of itself. I’m going to work on my craft and work on my game. That’s what I’m worrying about.”
Additionally, Clowney has spent the summer working with various pass rush professionals and even LeBron James’s own personal trainer. I bet he’s in the best shape of his life.
“Sometimes, it takes different players different times to take that next step,” Smith said. “Everybody matures at a different rate. His potential is off the charts. Now, he’s putting in a different kind of work with his skills. The pass rush training is going to pay big dividends and increase his pass rushing IQ. This is a different way of looking at pass rushing so it resonates more. He’s around guys who have had success and are proven. I’m really excited about Jadeveon.”
On social media, Clowney appeared to enjoy the interaction during a video with Smith.
”He worked me,” Clowney said .”I learned at the top from one of the best, Chuck Smith, the guru.”
I feel slightly better now. Hopefully it all works out. Most of all, I’m excited to see the 2019 version of Jadeveon Clowney. September will be here soon.