The Houston Texans have officially placed the franchise tag on outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney, a pass rushing prodigy coming out of South Carolina, played through his Texans rookie deal without any extensions. He has procured 29 sacks in total.
General Manager Brian Gaine of the Houston Texans said, “Today, we have placed the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, but our goal is to continue to work with his representation on a long-term contract. This gives us both an opportunity to continue to do so.”
This franchise tag is non-exclusive, meaning that any offer Clowney receives in free agency can be matched by the Texans or they could opt for two first-round picks. The Texans are hoping to sign Clowney to a deal before the deadline on July 15th.
Clowney, who was plagued with injuries early on in his NFL career, was able to produce at an elite level and avoid any serious injuries for the past couple of seasons.
Coach Bill O’Brien said, “He’s a disruptive player. Jadeveon is a big part of what we’ve done here. Like I always say, when he feels good, health-wise, and he’s ready to rock-and-roll, he’s hard to handle. Him in combination with J.J. [Watt] and the other guys, it’s a tough front.”
The complication lies in how the Texans choose to classify him under the franchise tag. According to the NFL, when the numbers are crunched, defensive ends make around $17.13 million while linebackers only make $15.44 million. For a 26-year-old man and veteran player who has a whopping 205 tackles in 62 games, that $2 million gap makes quite the difference as a player that puts his body on the line week to week.
While the Texans have yet to specify his classification, it should be noted that he logged 729 snaps on the defensive end this past year, which far outweighs his 33 snaps at linebacker.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Clowney and the Texans.