The Texans recently handed Benardrick McKinney a big money extension, but now it’s time for Houston to take care of Jadeveon Clowney.
It was just a couple of months ago when Texans General Manager Brian Gaine told reporters he was “optimistic” the team could ink Jadeveon Clowney to a new deal before the 2018 season. Fast forward to late June and there suddenly seems to be a lot of uncertainty about where Clowney stands with the Texans. The team needs to clear this up before their relationship with the talented defensive end begins to sour.
Recently, there’s been speculation that the Texans may want to see Clowney return to full health before committing to a long-term deal. He did undergo an arthroscopic knee surgery in January. That rehabilitation has been enough to keep Clowney out of team activities so far this summer.
Even so, Clowney has assured his coaching staff that he’ll be ready to go when training camp begins in late July. If that holds true, it will give the Texans about six weeks to negotiate with Clowney before the regular season begins. Remember, the team has a policy not to discuss contract issues with players while the season is going on.
In fairness to the Texans, they have a lot of stars working to get their way back onto the field at the moment. J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson are both still working hard to recover from significant injuries that sidelined them for the majority of the 2017 season. Being hesitant to commit another big-money deal to an injured player is understandable.
That doesn’t mean the Texans can afford to hesitate. Keeping a positive working relationship with Clowney is going to be crucial for their long-term future. If they don’t sign him to an extension this season, they may be forced to slap their franchise tag on him next season. Just look how that process damaged the relationship between Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins to see how that might damage the franchise.
Instead of waiting to see Clowney fully recovered, they should take advantage of his injury. He and his camp might be willing to offer the team a slight discount given his current physical condition. More likely, Clowney and his representatives would at least receive the Texans willingness to negotiate now in good faith positively. That might pay off big for the team in the future.
The Texans front office has a case for waiting to sign Jadeveon Clowney to a new deal, but it’s the wrong move. They need to lock down the dynamic defensive end for the long haul as soon as they can.