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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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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