HOUSTON - With final roster cuts looming on Saturday, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien addressed the elephant in the room on Friday — what is the situation regarding unsigned edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney?
The Texans placed the franchise tag on Clowney early in the offseason, then the two sides were unable to reach an agreement on a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline.
Clowney has not signed the tender, which means he’s not subject to be fined, and he also can’t be traded until he signs that franchise tender. Clowney has not been at the facility with the team for any activities, mandatory or otherwise, this entire offseason.
Rumors of the Texans aggressively pursuing trade options for Clowney have been rampant in recent days.
O’Brien was asked a series of questions about what is the end game with Clowney and the Texans.
Q: There are reports out there that you don’t like Clowney. Do you want Clowney?
A: “I’ve said this before, I think I said this during training camp, I’ll go back to this same answer, it’s not a matter of want. It’s a matter of a difference of opinion in value, relative to the contract. And that’s really where it’s at. It has nothing to do with want. It’s where the business end of things comes in and again, until he signs the tender, we really don’t have a whole lot to talk about.”
Q: Would you welcome Clowney back, if you don’t trade him?
A: “Anytime that he wants to come in and sign the tender, we can sit down and talk and go through all those things. Again, it’s all about what’s best for the team. So right now, having these conversations, they can’t even take place, because he’s got to come in and sign the tender."
Q: If Clowney comes in, and he’s not traded, at what point would you be able to play him in the first game?
A: “I think that’s all about the type of shape that he comes back in. I know that he’s been working. In the conversations that I’ve had with him, he’s said that he’s in the best shape of his life. So that seems to be the case, if he decides to come in and sign the tender, we’d have to see that for ourselves, but I really think that he’s been working.”
Q: Would there be any issue if he signs and comes back and plays here?
A: “At the end of the day if that’s what’s best for the team, then that’s what’s best for the team and the team would know that.”
Q: Can you share your thoughts on what kind of player Clowney is to you?
A: “He’s a good player. He’s a productive player, he’s played well for us, and he’s a good football player.”
Q: Where does it leave you if he (Clowney) doesn’t sign the tender, because you don’t have the player, but you don’t have anything coming back. Is there a point where negotiations of a no-trade clause or no tag for next year (would be discussed)?
A: “We’re not at that point right now, but those are all things that we’ve had conversations about with, obviously, with that situation, but different conversations with all types of situations that are going on with our team. Again we’re going to try to do what’s best for the team. At the end of the day, if that’s what he decides to do, I would say the ball’s in his court on that one.”
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