With the Houston Texans season coming to close, may question marks on the defense arise. There are many players that will have to choose whether to stick around, or to test free agency instead, and pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney is one of those players.
Clowney has just concluded the fifth and final year on his rookie contract, and without agreeing to a new contract yet, has qualified himself for free agency this summer. The Texans will undoubtedly be offering Clowney a contract, but their will be many other teams that offer as well. With Clowney’s pass rushing abilities, their could be other defensive schemes and successful organizations that may offer things that Houston can’t.
Clowney registered 9 sacked last season, and has 29 for his career. Clowney has earned 3 trips to the pro bowl in his young 5 year career, but there have been times when his place in this Houston defense had been questioned. Often, the player and his style do not ideally match that of the coach. Clowney has been moved to linebacker throughout his career, a position that he can do a job, but not as dangerous as when he gets to be a pass rushing defensive end in a four linemen set. Nonetheless, Clowney has been a very productive player for Houston, and has found success, winning the division this season.
Many reports suggest that Houston would place the franchise tag on Clowney, binding him with the team for one additional season, but this is would be unlikely, due to the position Clowney plays. The franchise tag would force Houston to pay the average of the top five defensive end salaries in the league, which is more than Clowney’s worth.
Early predicted suitors of Clowney include the Jets and the Patriots, with both teams expected to boost their pass rush this offseason. Despite the rumors, Clowney has verbally expressed his desire to stay with Houston, leaving it up to the Texans to make a good enough offer to tempt Clowney to stay in place. Clowney has prospered playing on the other side of J.J. Watt, and many predict him to return next year for the Texans.