The Houston Texans and Jadeveon Clowney aren’t closing in on a deal to keep the defensive star in Texas long-term, but general manager Brian Gaine isn’t worried.
After placing the franchise tag on Clowney to ensure that he’ll be with the team this fall, Gaine is still confident that they can keep the former No. 1 overall pick with the team going forward.
"That’s the spirit of the franchise tag,” general manager Brian Gaine said Thursday, via the Houston Chronicle. “There’s a reason why we did that, with every hope and intention of continuing to work on that. That’s a negotiation. It’s a process. It has to be a deal that makes sense for both sides – for the player, for the organization as it relates to short-term and long-term. So, that’s still the plan.”
The Texans have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with Clowney. If they don’t, Clowney will be forced to play the 2019 season under the franchise tag, which would earn him nearly $16 million. Clowney, however, has yet to sign that deal and is not attending voluntary workouts, per the Houston Chronicle. Undoubtedly, he’s waiting to see if the two sides can work out a long-term deal before the deadline.
Though injuries plagued the 26-year-old early in his career, he has been solid the past two seasons — missing just one game. Clowney had 47 total tackles and nine sacks with one forced fumble and three fumble recoveries last year.
Clowney could be in for a big payday this offseason if the two sides do reach a deal, though, as others in his position across the league have signed extremely lucrative deals in recent years. Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack signed a six-year, $141 million deal last year. The Los Angeles Rams reached a similar deal with defensive tackle Aaron Donald, locking down the former defensive Player of the Year to a $135 million deal. Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence also reached a $105 million deal earlier this month.
Despite the uncertainty, however, Clowney seems committed to returning to Houston. The business side of it, he said, will be handled on its own.
"Of course I want to come back," Clowney said earlier this year, via the Houston Chronicle. "I promise to the Texans and whoever else is watching that I'm going to be a much better, improved player next season. I haven't been thinking about a contract.
"If I come back and play well like I know I'm going to, contract will take care of itself. I'm going to work on my craft and work on my game. That's what I'm worrying about."
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