While re-signing both long-term may be difficult, that is the path Houston wants to take, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). Both defenders are set for free agency come March.
Talk of a Clowney extension cooled off considerably in 2018, when the standout defender was battling another knee injury. But he has played well this season, making his third straight Pro Bowl. The Texans want to, at the very least, keep Clowney around for 2019 via the franchise tag. Rapoport calls that move a “very viable option.” This has been rumored for a bit now, even though it is not the Texans’ preferred option.
This would force the Texans to re-sign Mathieu long-term, if they want to keep him around. That’s a scenario the former All-Pro safety is interested in unfolding. With the safety market taking odd turns this year, Mathieu had to settle for a one-year commitment. It’s likely he will be able to do better in 2019.
Earl Thomas, Landon Collins, Lamarcus Joyner, Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix may hit the market, or at least a few members of this group. That would make for another interesting offseason involving safeties. As for Clowney, his asking price surely spiked when the deals for Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack were finalized.
Houston is projected to possess $72MM-plus in cap space, which is in the top 10. The Texans already extended Benardrick McKinney and will have Deshaun Watson becoming extension-eligible after this season. And after J.J. Watt reclaimed his place on the All-Pro first team, the Texans will probably have to carve out room for another major extension for the three-time defensive player of the year.