Desiring Bell should mean you also desire Clowney

Texans can't desire Bell, spurn Clowney

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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.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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