HOUSTON - The NFL deadline came and went Monday for teams to sign franchise-tagged players to new, long-term contracts.
There are obvious issues internally that have kept the Texans from moving forward with a contract for Jadeveon Clowney, and now Clowney is set to play the upcoming season under the franchise tag.
He will likely be motivated more than ever to put up big numbers and deliver the first double-digit sack season of his career.
He has 29 career sacks since his rookie season in 2014 when he registered zero sacks in four games before he was injured and missed the rest of the season.
What the franchise tag means for Clowney
With no long-term contract agreed upon or any discussions about one, Clowney will now play the 2019 season on a one-year deal worth $15.9 million. It sets up an interesting offseason next spring and this time next summer between the Texans, Clowney and his agent, Bus Cook.
After the 2019 season, what's the next step?
The team could choose the same route next year and decide to franchise tag Clowney once again or get a long-term deal done. If that occurs, then the chances of Clowney being in Houston in 2021 are pretty much gone. He’ll feel disrespected and will be more than eager to find a new home with a massive contract in hand.
What kind of deal is Clowney worth and looking for?
Based on his numbers and recent health -- he’s missed only one game in the last three seasons -- Clowney’s side likely is looking for a deal in the $100 million range. While most believe Clowney is not yet on the level of an Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack type of contract, most believe he is close. The last two seasons, Clowney had 18.5 sacks and 24.5 sacks. In 2018, he played most of his snaps at defensive end and not at linebacker, which is the position the Texans reportedly slotted the former first overall pick for its franchise tag. That move saved the Texans in the range of $1 million compared with being tagged as a defensive end.
What’s the next step?
Clowney most likely won’t be at training camp and reportedly has not even signed his franchise contract, which means showing up at training camp is not required and he can’t be fined for not being present. According to sources close to the situation, it could, and likely will, get ugly quickly. That said, the franchise tag contract will eventually get ink on paper. Game checks begin the first week of the season, so it’s likely the first Clowney sighting will be that week leading up to the opener at New Orleans on Sept. 9.
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