Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney Won’t Report To Texans’ Offseason Program, Deal Not Close

We just got word that Chris Harris Jr. will be skipping the Broncos’ minicamp this week, and now we have news that another defensive star will be staying away from his team. 

Texans pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney will skip the team’s offseason program, sources told Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle. Wilson also writes that “no deal is in sight or expected anytime soon for Clowney.” Houston franchise tagged Clowney at the beginning of last month, and we haven’t heard much since. Many observers have said the deal Demarcus Lawrence just got from the Cowboys is a good sign for Clowney, but there has been little progress between the two sides.

Clowney is supposed to make $15.44MM in 2019 under the tag, but wants a longterm deal. The former first overall pick from South Carolina had a productive year last year, racking up nine sacks in 15 games. He’s also a difference-maker in the run game, and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ tenth-best edge defender last season.

Under NFL rules, the two sides have until July 15th to negotiate an extension. If they can’t come to an agreement by then, Clowney must play the 2019 season under the tag, or sit it out like Le’Veon Bell did. Clowney, who struggled with injury issues earlier in his career, has been able to stay healthy the past few seasons. He’s seeking top-of-the market money, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Texans decide to play this. Fellow pass-rusher Frank Clark is still waiting for a new deal from the Seahawks, and whichever one signs first could have a ripple effect on the other.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Details, Reactions To DeMarcus Lawrence Extension

Last night, the Cowboys and star defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence agreed to a lucrative five-year contract extension. The deal is expected to be worth around $105MM ($65MM guaranteed), with others noting that the pass-rusher will definitely earn more than $20MM annually.

Now that the pass-rusher has inked his new contract, he’s set to go under the knife. Albert Breer of TheMMQB reports (via Twitter) that Lawrence will finally undergo shoulder surgery. The procedure is expected to take place next week.

Lawrence has been dealing with a torn labrum for the better part of two years, and recovery time is expected to take three to four months. As a result, the defender will likely be sidelined until training camp.

Let’s check out some more notes pertaining to Lawrence’s new contract…

  • Lawrence also received a $25MM signing bonus, reports David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter). This probably helped to make up some of the discrepancy between the final contract and Lawrence’s asking price, as the lineman was reportedly seeking a contract that would pay him around $22.5MM per year. As Jon Machota of the Dallas News tweets, Lawrence will ultimately earn $31.1MM in the first year of the deal. For comparison’s sake, Khalil Mack earned $31MM last season.
  • According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, the two sides made major strides on Thursday evening. Executive vice president Stephen Jones talked with Lawrence on the phone, and the two parties talked through any monetary issues. Less than 24 hours later, the two sides agreed to a deal.
  • NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport says the Lawrence contract is good news for Texans star Jadeveon Clowney and Seahawks standout Frank Clark (Twitter link). The reporter believes the two players now have parameters set for any future extensions, noting that the franchised pass-rushers could also expect to receive $20MM annually.

Extra Points: Tags, Haskins, Jets, Bucs

Both the Chiefs and Texans may be in for grievances. Both teams used their franchise tags on edge defenders — Dee Ford and Jadeveon Clowney, respectively — and each team officially classified its tag recipient as a linebacker. The linebacker tag comes at a $15.443MM price. Both players have cases to be tagged as defensive ends, with Clowney frequently lining up as a lineman for Houston and Ford set to play end in Kansas City’s new 4-3 scheme. The defensive end price: $17.128MM — the second-highest tag figure. Clowney already received just more than $1MM from the Texans to resolve a dispute about what position he was categorized as in regards to his fifth-year option. That may go toward preempting a grievance here, but it’s not certain. A Ford grievance seems likely. He spends more time rushing from the defensive end position in the Chiefs’ sub-packages. Terrell Suggs filed a grievance about a linebacker tag in 2008, and an arbitrator ruled the parties to split the difference between the linebacker and end tags. But this is a case-by-case process.

Here is the latest from the pre-free agency news cycle:

  • While Janoris Jenkins is set to avoid cap-casualty status, another member of the Giants‘ 2016 free agency defender splurge may not. Whether Olivier Vernon is traded or cut, the veteran edge rusher is a near-certainty to be jettisoned from the Giants’ defense, Tom Rock of Newsday notes. As is the case with Landon Collins‘ exit, a Vernon departure would create a massive need on a New York defense that has several need areas.
  • Dwayne Haskins has been a popular mock pick for the Giants, and Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes Big Blue indeed has been “all over” the Ohio State-developed quarterback, researching his viability as Eli Manning‘s successor. Dave Gettleman does not plan to turn the keys over to a later-round pick, with Vacchiano adding the heir apparent will be a first-round choice. So if the Giants balk at a passer with another top-10 pick, they may be willing to roll the dice one more time and wait until 2020.
  • Mike Maccagnan has said the Jets will be aggressive in free agency, which would make sense given the team’s plethora of needs and $100MM-plus in cap space. Gang Green will attempt to find a center and a guard in free agency, per Vacchiano. This comes after the Jets cut 2018 center Spencer Long. There are some interesting center options, with Matt Paradis and Mitch Morse set to hit the market. At guard, there aren’t as many younger free agents; the top options are deeper into their careers.
  • Donovan Smith‘s 2019 cap figure will still be hefty, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com, who notes the Buccaneers‘ left tackle will carry a $12.5MM figure next season. Although it is not the $14.1MM figure Smith was briefly attached to via the franchise tag, that is still a large number for a team that does not have much cap space. Smith’s 2020 and ’21 base salaries will be $14.5MM and $14.25MM, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • Former Bears head coach Mark Trestman will return to coach in the States. He’s been hired as HC of the XFL’s Tampa Bay team. He joins Bob Stoops, Jim Zorn and Pep Hamilton as coaches to have signed on with the rebooting league. An acclaimed CFL coach prior to his two-season Bears stay, Trestman went back to Canada and was the Toronto Argonauts’ HC for the past two seasons.

Texans Franchise Tag Jadeveon Clowney

The Texans have franchise tagged outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, according to a team announcement. If no long-term deal is reached between now and the July extension deadline for franchised players, Clowney will be cuffed by a one-year, $15.443MM tender. 

The Texans used the non-exclusive tag on Clowney, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. With this designation, Clowney can shop his offer sheet around, but an unmatched offer sheet would result in the new team sending two first-round picks to the Texans as compensation. The non-exclusive version used more commonly than the exclusive tag in the NFL and only occasionally results in a trade. Last year, however, the Dolphins and Browns swung a tag-and-trade involving Jarvis Landry, though the compensation was much lower than two first-round picks.

Teams have rankled players in the past by tagging them as outside linebackers rather than defensive ends, but it won’t make a huge difference for Clowney. Last year, the Texans gave Clowney an extra $1MM to settle a dispute over his fifth-year option, so the 120% rule on the tag would give him a $15.967MM salary for 2019. Therefore, the difference between Clowney’s tag and the tag he’d get as a defensive end ($17MM) is minimal.

Clowney likely would have preferred to test free agency before coming to the table with the Texans, but, like the other top edge rushers, Clowney will be held back by the tag. The 26-year-old would undoubtedly cash in as an unrestricted free agent, but the Texans are reportedly unwilling to go “anywhere near” the market-resetting deals signed by Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald last summer. For what it’s worth, GM Brian Gaine says the team’s “goal is to continue to work with his representation on a long-term contract.”

For his part, Clowney is expected to take his sweet time when it comes to signing the tender. Without a long-term deal or a signed tender, the defensive end will have the right to abstain from offseason activities, training camp, and even games. An in-season holdout would cost Clowney $900K+ for every missed game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Tyrann Mathieu, Jadeveon Clowney

The Texans have not deviated from their Jadeveon Clowney plan. A franchise tag before Tuesday afternoon’s deadline is imminent. The team is still trying to keep Tyrann Mathieu off the market as well.

Houston is making a push to retain Mathieu before he hits free agency, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. No deal is imminent at this juncture, however.

After the season ended, Mathieu indicated he wanted to be back with the Texans. Bill O’Brien said at the Combine he hopes a deal will be finalized. The team has the money to make that happen, holding more cap space ($80.9MM) than all but two teams. But the safety market appears to have restarted, after going to a strange place in 2018, and the former All-Pro will likely want a deal closer to the one he inked with the Cardinals in 2016 than the one-year, $7MM pact he signed with the Texans.

Prior to Eric Berry‘s $13MM-per-year deal, Mathieu was the league’s highest-paid safety — at $12.5MM AAV. He may not be in position to land that, but with Landon Collins and Earl Thomas potentially set to be franchise-tagged (in Collins’ case) or sign a new big-money deal, the 26-year-old Mathieu may want to see what his market looks like. Eric Reid signed a deal far more lucrative than any team was willing to authorize last year, and Lamarcus Joyner is expected to hit free agency, too, pointing to an interesting signing period for this position.

As for Clowney, he is not expected to sign his franchise tender soon after the Texans tag him, Wilson adds. His impending tag means the Texans have barely a week left with exclusive Mathieu negotiating rights. The legal tampering period begins March 11.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Texans, Jadeveon Clowney

With Tuesday marking the first day teams can apply franchise tags to plays, the plan in Houston remains to tag Jadeveon Clowney. That has been the expected course of action for months.

In addition to reporting the Texans are not deviating from their long-rumored strategy, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes an extension could be complicated. The Texans are not planning to pay “anywhere near” as much as Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald received when they reset the defender market last summer.

Interestingly, the Texans could afford a Clowney deal on the $23MM-AAV level. The team holds more than $77MM in cap space. It will cost north of $17MM to tag the 25-year-old standout. Clowney, who of course was drafted ahead of Mack and Donald in 2014, now has three Pro Bowls to his credit. He has posted back-to-back nine-plus-sack seasons. While the South Carolina product has not shown himself to be on the level of Mack or Donald, his negotiations coming in a year when the cap is expected to approach or exceed $190MM works in his favor.

I came (into the league) with them guys. Of course I want to be up there with them,” Clowney said of Mack and Donald, via Wilson. “It’s all about timing in everything about this league. Injuries happen. You get paid at a certain time. You hit the market at the right time. I think those guys deserve those contracts.”

However, unlike the Bears and Rams, the Texans already have a pass rusher, J.J. Watt, on a high-end contract. That $16MM-AAV deal, now that Watt re-emerged as one of the NFL’s best players, may need to be revisited soon as well.

Texans senior vice president of football administration Chris Olsen plans to meet with Clowney’s agent at the Combine next week, Wilson adds. That will provide a clearer measurement as to how close the sides are. A report earlier Monday indicated Clowney’s work ethic may cause additional hesitancy regarding a long-term deal. But health-wise, the back half of Clowney’s rookie contract helped change his narrative.

An injury risk earlier in his career, Clowney has shed those concerns over the past three seasons. After playing in 30 regular-season games from 2016-17, Clowney missed the Texans’ offseason program last year due to knee surgery. He played in 15 games this past season.

The gap between the Mack-Donald tier and Von Miller ($19MM per year) is significant, and while Clowney has not produced on Miller’s level, it should be expected he will want a deal perhaps well north of the Broncos superstar’s pact — considering Miller’s extension occurred when the cap resided at $155.27MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Peter King On Brown, Clowney, Murray

Antonio Brown has scared off at least one interested team with his tweets, Peter King of NBC Sports hears. The Steelers star hasn’t been shy about airing his dirty laundry over social media and King suspects that other potential suitors are also viewing his outspokenness as a red flag.

Brown’s latest Twitter outburst included shots at coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which jibes with reports of serious friction between Brown and key team figures in recent months.

No conflict just a matter of respect! Mutual respect!” Brown said, on Twitter. “He has a owner mentality like he can call out anybody including coaches. Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game. #truth.”

Over the past 40-plus days, Brown has requested a trade and been involved in a domestic dispute. Meanwhile, he’s denied any wrongdoing in connection with the incident.

Here’s more from King’s column:

  • King is skeptical of the Texans reaching a long-term deal with Jadeveon Clowney this offseason because he’s “not as hard of worker bee some others on that defense are.” However, that could change if Clowney receives the franchise tag and proves himself in 2019. Clowney recently earned a payment of $1.005MM to resolve a dispute over the position designation for his fifth-year option, so he’d earn roughly $17.3MM under the terms of the tag.
  • The Raiders have three first-round picks and there has been speculation that they could target a quarterback early in the draft, despite the presence Derek Carr. The Raiders, King hears, are fascinated with Murray. If that’s the case, he wonders whether Oakland might flip Carr to to the Jaguars, Dolphins, or Redskins and select the Oklahoma star. If that happens, Murray could wind up playing his first home games on the field of the Oakland A’s.

South Notes: Jaguars, Bevell, Panthers, Texans

Former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will interview with Jaguars for their vacant OC job on Tuesday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Bevell did not coach this year but took part in some interviews during the 2018 hiring period, which featured his Seattle ouster. It’s been Bevell’s plan to coach in 2019 and he could realize that goal if he is hired by Jacksonville.

Bevell previously interviewed for the Falcons job, but that position has already been filled by ex-Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter.

Here’s more from the South divisions:

  • Panthers head coach Ron Rivera called plays during the final month of the season and he’ll continue to do so in 2019, a source tells Joseph Person of The Athletic. Speculatively, Person wonders if that will prevent Rivera from luring a seasoned defensive coach such as Steve Wilks, who has obvious ties to the team.
  • Texans defensive star Jadeveon Clowney earned a payment of $1.005MM to resolve a dispute over the position designation for his fifth-year option, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. In the event of a franchise tag, the Texans have been planning to designate him as a linebacker, which would pay him roughly $16.3MM in 2019. However, he was pushing to be tagged as a defensive end, which pays at least $18MM. The settlement more or less splits things down the middle, which may remove one complication in tagging him or ultimately signing him to a long-term extension.

Texans Eyeing Clowney, Mathieu Deals

Although their playoff opener is not going too well thus far, the Texans entered Saturday with clear offseason goals. They want both Jadeveon Clowney and Tyrann Mathieu to be part of their 2019 team.

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.

Texans Likely To Tag Jadeveon Clowney

The Texans aren’t letting Jadeveon Clowney get away. The team plans to apply the franchise tag to him for 2019, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes.

However, the move may come with some controversy. Clowney will argue that he should be tagged as a defensive end, which would put him in line for more than $17MM in salary. Meanwhile, the Texans will contend that he is a linebacker, which would give him about $15MM.

The difference is relatively small, but it could be a major point of contention for Clowney and an opportunity for the Texans to gain a bit of cap relief. Beyond the tag, the two sides will find themselves in an interesting long-term contract negotiation.

When on the field, Clowney is among the league’s most feared edge rushers. Since the start of the 2015 season, Clowney has recorded 25.5 sacks and 55 tackles for a loss. And, this year, he has been one of the NFL’s best at generating quarterback pressure, but his injury history may be something of a concern: The 25-year-old (26 in February) missed 3/4ths of his rookie season and a few games in ’15 and ’16. Then again, he has back-to-back Pro Bowl nods and appeared in all 16 regular season games last year.

On Sunday, Clowney recorded yet another sack as the Texans edged the Redskins, 23-21. Next, the Texans will take their seven-game winning streak to the Titans on Monday night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.