Moving Jadeveon Clowney is harder for the Houston Texans now than it would have been even a month ago, but these five teams should have some level of interest.
Jadeveon Clowney was franchise tagged by the Houston Texans in March, as talks regarding a long-term deal went nowhere. He has yet to sign the tender, due in part to being designated as an outside linebacker or defensive end and a $1.2 million difference in tag value, but last week it was reported Clowney will report to the team after the third preseason game.
The Texans are operating without a general manager by title right now, after firing Brian Gaine in early June and failing to get Nick Caserio from the New England Patriots (for now at least). Head coach Bill O’Brien is essentially operating at the top of what has been deemed a committee approach in the front office, and the Clowney situation seems to show it.
Appearing on NFL Network Tuesday morning, O’Brien said he had no idea when Clowney would report while expressing no public animosity. Then later in the day John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, one of the best NFL reporters out there, had this.
The Texans made some effort to upgrade Deshaun Watson’s pass protection this offseason, signing Matt Kalil and using two of their first three draft picks on offensive tackles. But they are still, and should be, looking for an upgrade.
There are lots of moving parts to a trade for Clowney. He would have to sign his tender to be moved, so he has some control over where he goes and the Miami Dolphins reportedly backed out of a deal after Clowney refused to sign a long-term deal with them.
An acquiring team also has to be willing and/or able to take on at least a $15.97 million cap hit. That acquiring team would also be surrendering something of value, be it draft picks, players or some combination, with no ability to sign Clowney to a long-term deal right now since the mid-July deadline for franchise tagged players to get a multi-year deal has obviously passed.
Clowney remains a bit of an enigma, entering his sixth NFL season after being the No. 1 overall pick in 2014. But over the last three seasons he has been healthy and productive, and at 26 years old he has plenty of good years left.
With all that’s in play, these five teams should have some level of interest in Clowney.
5. Washington Redskins
With a top-tier left tackle in Trent Williams that is theoretically available as he holds out, the Redskins are an easy match for the Texans. Apart from McClain’s follow-up that he doesn’t see Houston trading for Williams, the Redskins are apparently holding their line thinking the All-Pro left tackle will eventually blink.
With Ryan Kerrigan and rookie first-round pick Montez Sweat coming off the edge and solid depth across their front seven, Washington doesn’t have a great need for Clowney. But they are in line to have one of the league’s lowest scoring offenses this year, so adding a difference-maker defensively and trying to win some games ugly has to be on the table.