The team's general manager at the combine discussed the team using the tag

Franchise tag "an option" for Texans with Clowney

Franchise tag "an option" for Texans with Clowney
Cody Stoots/SportsMap

Texans general manager Brian Gaine said at the NFL Scouting Combine the team won't discuss contracts publicly when he was asked about impending free agents. He did however confirm the Texans would use the franchise tag if necessary.

"It's certainly an option," said the second-year general manager. "It's not the priority, but it's certainly an option."

Defensive standout Jadeveon Clowney is the most-likely candidate though safeties Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu are also available to be tagged by Houston. Gaine mentioned he will meet with all three player's representation this week.

"We want to make an effort to keep all our good players," he said. "Keep our core players intact. Those guys are valuable guys."

The franchise tag grants the player the average of the top five salaries at their position for one season. The one-year deal is fully guaranteed and hits the team's salary cap as soon as the player signs his franchise tag. The team then has until mid-July to agree on an long-term contract before the player is locked into the one-year deal. A player who signs a franchise tag can be traded by his team.

Clowney's case is interesting because while he is listed as an outside linebacker he plays all over the defense. There is a difference of a few million dollars between being tagged as a linebacker and as a defensive end.

According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer the NFLPA projects a linebacker to have a tag of $15.59 million while a defensive end carries a tag of $17.29 million. Pro Football Focus places Clowney at end more than linebacker in their assessment of his snaps by detailed position.

Cody's Take

No surprise Brian Gaine was tight-lipped about his next move with a lot of his free agents. He will have to start running the numbers when he begins discussions with the various free agents making sure adding say Mathieu back doesn't restrict what he can pay Clowney or Jackson.

It would seem the Texans aren't going right to the franchise tag with Clowney, but instead are using it for the tag's intended use. It was not put into the NFL's collective bargaining agreement to get out of extending a player. It was placed in there to guarantee the player some level of security while the team continues to negotiate a contract with him.

This is the approach I believe the Texans should be taking with Clowney. The franchise tag should be the last resort. Letting him walk is not an option. Short of an unbelievable haul trading him after tagging him should not be an option. They should be working with Clowney and his agent to keep him in Houston for a long time. The value of the contract will be hotly contested. If Clowney wants Khalil Mack or Aaron Donald money it might be a price too steep for the Texans to spend and ultimately that would lead to a year playing under the franchise tag. Not the worst thing for Clowney but not the best either.

If the Texans truly want him back, and there is no reason to believe they don't as he has been one of their best players for years, negotiating up to the franchise tag deadline (March 5) and using the tag if negotiations need to go further is best for all parties involved. Remember, deadlines get deals done. Next week is the first of two important deadlines for the Texans.

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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