Jadeveon Clowney was in the spotlight. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com
The Houston Texans made official their use of the franchise tag Monday on defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney.
The Houston Texans have placed the non-exclusive franchise designation on DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney, the team announced today. pic.twitter.com/HmY04QtzWj
— Texans PR (@TexansPR) March 4, 2019
The non-exclusive tag means they can match any offer sheet Clowney receives or accept compensation of two first round picks for a team signing him. He can not be traded until he signs the franchise tag.
Clowney has to be offered and accept a new contract by July 15 or he will be forced to play under the guaranteed one year tag number. Clowney will be tagged as a linebacker meaning his one-year guaranteed salary will be $15.967 million which is 120 percent of his previous year's salary. Pro Football Focus reports Clowney playing more snaps at defensive end this season. A defensive end tag would have been worth almost $2 million more than the linebacker tag. Clowney was rewarded an extra $1 million this past season on his fifth-year option after an assessment of his position. The NFL decides the positional tag.
Texans General Manager Brian Gaine said this about Clowney and the tag process in a press release.
"Today, we have placed the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, but our goal is to continue to work with his representation on a long-term contract," he said. "This gives us both an opportunity to continue to do so."
Clowney has now recorded at least 58 pressures in each of the last 3 seasons. pic.twitter.com/kakhgG5ZtV
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 4, 2019
This is the way the business is played right now. There wasn't really a deadline for them to reach a deal, that isn't until July. Clowney and the Texans can spend the next few months discussing and posturing on a new deal. I am sure Clowney's side wants money close to the most ever for a defensive player. There is no thought in my mind the Texans should pay that amount, but he should be rewarded.
The tag of linebacker is a bit silly as Clowney is basically a defensive end who can stand up for this team. Ultimately, that doesn't matter if a new contract is reached. If there isn't a new deal I don't expect to see Clowney until he absolutely has to show up to play. No mini-camp. No training camp. We will see Clowney when he has to sign and show up.
Missing those events is Clowney's right and I fully support his ability to do so. Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack missed camps before. So have other players. It isn't the end of the world if he misses the offseason workouts with the teams, but, you'd prefer he is there.
I would expect a pissed off and motivated Clowney in the upcoming season. Clowney keeps improving and there isn't an end in sight on his talent. One franchise tag makes a little bit of sense. I don't believe they would risk tagging him again and him sitting out a season.
Two years of tag (if stays as LB) for Clowney would be $35.13m. That could change if the 2019 amount gets an adjustment later this offseason.
— TexansCap (@TexansCap) March 4, 2019
The contract will be big if they can get it done. It will make some people uncomfortable but don't worry about the money. The Texans have it. They have planned for this. TexansCap projects the Texans to have $64 million after the franchise tag. The team got a little bit of a deal on DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt is below market value as well right now. Deshaun Watson has a rookie quarterback deal. The money is fine for the next few seasons. I also would expect Watt ponders asking for a new deal if Clowney gets a deal higher than his deal, which if he gets a new contract he will.
“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.