While we are outside what I have dubbed The Lombardi Window, there has been a significant uptick in the amount of buzz about Jadeveon Clowney’s future this afternoon. First, John Granato tweeted that the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft was displeased with how his agent, Bus Cook, had handled recent negotiations and that Clowney believed he was bound for the Dolphins once he signed his franchise tender.
Watch for something to happen soon. Clowney very unhappy with his agent. He doesn’t think Bus Cook had a good enough plan. When he signs his tender he thinks he’s headed to Miami. They will have two franchise years to convince him to stay long term.— John Granato (@johngranato) August 27, 2019
Shortly thereafter, Tom Pelissero broke the story that Clowney had in fact fired his agent.
Unhappy with the state of talks about his future, Jadeveon Clowney recently fired his longtime agent, Bus Cook, sources tell me and @MikeGarafolo. Clowney was originally expected to report to the #Texans this week, but has yet to sign his franchise tender.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 27, 2019
Then Aaron Wilson jumped into the fray. To wit:
- While the Dolphins “are very interested in trading for Jadeveon Clowney,” they “have to get him interested in going [to Miami].” For his part, Clowney would prefer to be traded to Seattle or Philadelphia.
Dolphins are very interested in trading for Jadeveon Clowney, according to league sources, but have to get him interested in going there. Prefers Seahawks, Eagles as potential destinations. Fluid situation because he has leverage as unsigned franchise player— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 27, 2019
If this whole exercise somehow ends with the Texans reacquiring Duane Brown twenty-two months after they traded him, I will burst into flames.
- Presumably in an attempt to convince Clowney to take his talents to South Beach, the new head coach of the Dolphins, Brian Flores, recently met with Clowney.
Jadeveon Clowney recently met with Dolphins coach Brian Flores and it went well, league sources confirm. Not his first-choice destination, but Dolphins are amenable to doing lucrative extension for unsigned franchise player. Clowney could very well wind up with Dolphins— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 27, 2019
- Bullish as they may be about acquiring Clowney, the Dolphins reportedly won’t agree to a trade that includes Laremy Tunsil, their starting left tackle.
Dolphins are not willing to include offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil in a prospective trade scenario involving Jadeveon Clowney, according to league sources. Texans need help at running back in addition to offensive tackle— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 27, 2019
For a team that continues to publicly insist they plan to start Matt Kalil at left tackle, you’d think the lack of Tunsil in a trade would be a deal-breaker. Then again, this is the team that continues to publicly insist that Matt Kalil is the best man for the rather important job of protecting Deshaun Watson’s blind side, so all bets are off.
- Nevertheless, the Texans’ demands in a potential trade for Clowney are “reasonable.”
Texans' compensation requirements for Jadeveon Clowney are 'reasonable,' per sources. Multiple agents are pursuing unsigned franchise player, ton of heavy hitters going after him. Nothing imminent for him picking new representation, though.— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 27, 2019
I suppose it’s that last point that scares me the most. To the extent that the Texans are truly considering trading Jadeveon Clowney right now, their ask should be entirely unreasonable. It’s perfectly fine to be wary of signing Clowney to a contract in the mold of Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald; intelligent minds can disagree whether that’d be the highest and best allocation of cap dollars, of which the Texans have many available at the moment. Personally, I err on the side of extending Clowney, as the Texans have the money to do it (this isn’t a Mario Williams situation) and the 2019 Houston Texans without Clowney—especially in late August—are virtually a lock to be noticeably worse than they would be with him.
No, my primary issue is the timing of these Clowney trade talks. Why is this happening thirteen days before the regular season opener? If the Texans truly weren’t interested in re-signing Clowney, why not trade him before the 2019 NFL Draft? Or before the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign multi-year deals, which passed about six weeks ago? Any team that trades for Clowney now can’t sign him to a long-term extension until after the 2019 regular season ends; that necessarily means potential trade partners have to take a bit of a leap of faith when acquiring Clowney now. Sure, that team can always tag Clowney again next year or get informal assurances from him that he’ll sign a new contract, but there’s no guarantee after that, which could affect what a team would part with. In other words, if a team knew it could ink Clowney to an extension immediately, they’d be more likely—at least in theory—to surrender more, or perhaps more attractive, assets.
It just seems to be that the Texans aren’t negotiating from a position of strength here. Which, you know, is par for the course these days. The Texans would have had significantly more leverage, and perhaps more options, earlier in the NFL calendar year. Why trade Clowney now? How will it make the 2019 Texans better? Is there really a trade return out there in late August that improves the Texans and offsets what losing Clowney would do to Houston’s defense? Why shouldn’t the Texans have Clowney play under the tag in 2019 and then reevaluate the situation in the spring?
Like many things this past offseason, I believe the Texans aren’t handling this as well as they should, and I fear this will be bungled. What say you?