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The Good, The Bad, and the “What Just Happened?!?”

One possible timeline for the fleecing of Houston’s front seven.

NFL: DEC 30 Jaguars at Texans
A Texan no more.
Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Giving up on Jadeveon Clowney seems to have been a master class in how not to manage a football team. While we may never know exactly how it went down, chances are it looked something like this:

  1. The Texans offer Clowney an insulting, low-ball long term contract extension that he would be crazy to accept.
  2. Bus Cook and Brian Gaine try to get something done, but can’t, which ultimately leads to both of them getting fired.
  3. Bill O’Brien jumps into the deep end to fill the void, with only the experience of roster management that he got at Penn State - which doesn’t work with grown men who no longer care about their scholarships and draft stock.
  4. O’Brien decides to try to work out a trade with the Dolphins, in large part because they have a stud left tackle and the new head coach there has connections to the Patriots.
  5. Clowney learns that the Texans are trying to trade him. Having planned on reporting to the Texans last week and playing under the franchise tag for Houston in 2019, he’s not happy about that, and he’s even less happy that he’d be going to the Dolphins in such a deal.
  6. Clowney starts chatting with friends, including Duane Brown, who knows all about Houston’s problems. The Seahawks become Clowney’s preferred landing spot, and Clowney has leverage he wouldn’t otherwise have had, as he hasn’t signed the franchise tag deal, and the deadline for other teams to sign him to a long-term deal after executing a trade passed more than a month ago.
  7. O’Brien’s efforts to trade Clowney to Miami fail. Whether it’s primarily because Clowney made it clear he won’t sign his tender to allow a trade to Miami, or because Miami’s asking price for Laremy Tunsil in a Clowney trade is deemed too high, or some combination of the two, doesn’t really matter.
  8. The rest of the NFL, knowing Houston is imploding and there’s no general manager to counter O’Brien, sit and wait.
  9. The Seahawks manage to convince O’Brien he’s better off ridding his locker room of the “cancerous” Jadeveon Clowney - a teammate the defensive linemen were just bragging about in practice. A player seemingly beloved by his teammates in Houston.
  10. Houston, having waited entirely too long to address the situation and instead choosing to play the waiting game, decides it has to act NOW and gets pantsed in one of the worst trades in NFL history.
  11. O’Brien, aware of how poorly the Texans made out in the Clowney trade, quickly pays through the nose to ensure that the single biggest complaint everyone had about the Texans last season—the offensive line and specifically the glaring hole at left tackle—is addressed, and addressed in the form of a player who could very well serve as a franchise cornerstone for the next decade.
  12. Bill O’Brien pats himself on the back for robbing Peter to pay Paul, essentially cutting off one end of a blanket, sewing it on the other end, and bragging about having a longer blanket now.