Edge rushers are always a hot commodity in free agency. Expect an NFL bidding frenzy to emerge for Jadeveon Clowney this offseason.
Jadeveon Clowney may not be the best edge rusher on the free agency market this offseason, but he’s going to cash in with a massive multi-year contract. The real question is which franchise will employ him for the prime years of his playing career.
Clowney’s marketability could be boosted by his ability to fit into both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. His best skill is obviously rushing the passer, but he’s got enough speed to drop into coverage as an outside linebacker too. Unlike some edge rusher on the open market, he’s a player who can work with every franchise in the NFL.
It’s worth noting that the Texans can choose to designate him as their franchise player. That’s a very possible outcome. Clowney might be disappointed to earn only $17 million next season, but it’s likely in Houston’s best interest. If they don’t take the sure bet to keep hold of their dynamic defender, things could get dicey for Bill O’Brien and company. Here are the five best fits for Clowney in 2019.
5. Houston Texans
Clowney might not want to play under the franchise tag, but he’s obviously got a good situation in Houston. He could find himself in a lot tougher circumstances that lining up across from J.J. Watt on a regular basis.
Of course, he’d prefer to sign a long-term contract with the team that drafted him. That might be pretty difficult for the Texans to swallow, but Deshaun Watson is still being paid on his rookie contract. That gives the team a reasonable shot to tie Clowney down for the long haul with a front loaded contract.
No matter how you break it down, the Texans will play a giant role in Clowney’s free agency. The NFL rules are structured to give Houston all the cards when it comes to his future. Time will tell whether the franchise decides to tag Clowney or let him walk.