Desiring Bell should mean you also desire Clowney

Texans can't desire Bell, spurn Clowney

Houston Texans/Facebook

If you want the Texans to sign Le'Veon Bell I also assume you would like Jadeveon Clowney to get a long-term deal with the Texans close to what Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack earned last offseason.

I feel that way because logically there is no way to desire a Bell signing and want the Texans to franchise tag or move on from Jadeveon Clowney. The logic doesn't exist.

Each player's potential, how easy it is to replace them, and the example it sets for the team are all reasons why if you want Bell you have to want Clowney too.

We have seen the best of Le'Veon Bell in the NFL. He isn't getting any better. While he is amazing, three seasons as one of the best offensive weapons in football, there's no chance he's going to get better. There is also some concern about the ability for Bell, after a year away, to replicate his consistent greatness.

Clowney is getting better. He has improved his pass rush success every year as well as his run-stopping ability. The positions age differently too. While most running backs earn their best seasons in their initial time starting there are plenty of examples of elite edge players growing into the position as they age. Ravens defensive standout Terrell Suggs played some of his best football after he turned 26 (Clowney turned 26 this year) and so did Cardinals stud Chandler Jones and former Cardinals now Jaguars presence Calais Campbell. There just aren't many running backs playing deep into their thirties with huge success. There are plenty of pass rushers.

Should either of these players get injured it is far easier to replace Bell than to replace Clowney. Both players have played five seasons in the NFL and missed 18 games. Clowney has missed three of his games in his past three season while Bell has missed 15 in the past three seasons he has played, not to mention sitting out a whole year as well.

Almost every big running back contract has had time where he has been out and someone else has admirably filled in for the big money back. Just this past year Todd Gurley was dinged up and C.J. Anderson filled in off the street. Devonta Freeman has seen injuries give way to Tevin Coleman success (currently a free agent might I add). Jerick McKinnon filling in for the injured Adrian Peterson and it earned him a huge deal in free agency last year, and then he got hurt.

As an example when an elite defender misses look no further than Eric Berry's loss affecting the secondary on the Chiefs. For a bit more appropriate positional comparison the Broncos led the league in sacks in 2012 and when Von Miller missed seven games they were 13th in sacks the following year. I know Clowney isn't Von Miller but his snaps are much harder to replace. It literally took Clowney playing at a high level to attempt to replace Watt's snaps. The bigger contract that Clowney would command also adds to the unlikely ability to pay a replacement. The difficulty of replacing a player demonstrates his value.

The message it sends to the team if you sign Bell but not Clowney is the wrong message you want to send. Clowney has been a team player from the start for the Texans. He recovered faster from micro fracture surgery than almost any player in the history of the NFL. He has never held out. He hasn't outwardly voiced his displeasure with the team. Meanwhile, Bell had his offensive linemen, and it seems most of the rest of the Steelers, turn on him in the midst of a holdout that cost him $12 million. Why would any player in the future have faith in the Texans and they way they operate if they rewarded a player like Bell and not a player like Clowney?

Signing Bell and not signing Clowney is a disaster waiting to happen. Signing Bell and not giving Clowney a new contract in lieu of the franchise tag is also the wrong way for the Texans to run the business. So if the opinion is the team needs Bell at whatever he would cost it would then be automatic they need Clowney at what he costs. You can't do Bell business without taking care of Clowney businees.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

TEXANS HAVE ZERO DEPTH AT CORNER

Here's what Davante Adams' big day against the Texans really proved

Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Seven weeks into the season, Bradley Roby has been the sole bright spot playing for a secondary that has been subpar at best. He entered Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers trailing only Eric Murray for the most tackles as a defensive back, while owning the Houston Texans' only interception of the season.

During his media availability on Thursday, Roby spoke about having the Texans' confidence to trust him as the primary defender shadowing the opposing team's best receiver.

And with Davante Adams coming to NRG Stadium with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday, Roby had an opportunity to illustrate why Houston's coaching staff have so much faith in him.

Three plays into the game, Roby sustained a knee injury that sidelined him the rest of the afternoon. In his absence, the Texans felt his importance competing with a depleted secondary.

Adams would go on to have a career day against the Texans. He recorded a career-best 196 receiving yards on 13-of-18 targets and two touchdowns — as the Packers handed the Texans a 35-20 loss on Sunday.

Had the Fort Worth native avoided the injury, would it have resulted in a victory for the Texans? Perhaps not. It is always hard for a team to come away victorious after going scoreless during the first half, but Roby would have limited the destruction caused by Adams. Rogers completed four deep passes where he recorded 28 or more yards, with Adams being the recipient of three.

Not only did Houston have to deal with the effects of not having their best corner shadow one of the league's premier receivers, but the team was not prepared to battle without Roby, according to Michael Thomas following the loss.

"When you lose your starting corner like that, it's going to affect [the team]," Thomas said. "Anytime you have to make adjustments. If you're not prepared, and you don't have the right mindset, then you're probably not going to get the right results you want. Maybe we could have done it a little sooner, but you definitely miss a guy like Roby. You plan on having your number one guy go against their number one guy all the time."

Roby's premature exit left the Texans with a gaping void to slowdown Rodgers and the Packers without two of their projected starting corners. Gareon Conley — who revived his career during the second half of last season — has yet to play a single snap for Houston in 2020 as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery.

Their lackluster performance on Sunday showcased the lack of depth and talent the Texans have in the secondary. And with the trade deadline a week away, it may be in the Texans' best interest to invest in a young defensive back they can build around in the future — especially considering the timetable on Conley's return remains unknown.

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said on Monday that the team is hoping Roby's injury is short-term and hopes to have their top corner make his return following the bye.

At 1-6 on the year, all the Texans have left to play for is pride as they close out the remaining nine games of the season, and the best way is to prevent another receiver from recording nearly 200 yards in a single game.

For this vulnerable secondary, it is a feat easier said than done. And with the talents of Jarvis Landry, T.Y. Hilton, and A.J. Brown remaining on the schedule, it is only best for Roby to make his return to the field sooner rather than later.

"I take pride in it. It's an opportunity that not a lot of guys get throughout the league, and I'm thankful for that. Just to be able to go against the best and try my best for the team and see how I match up. I'm very thankful for that." — Roby.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome