Houston Texans fans
the 2018 off season has already been one to remember. The franchise has added quality depth and players with star value. While there are still plenty of moves to be made, there is one in particular that NEEDS to happen. Let me tell ya, it’ll be the most expensive one…BY FAR.
Late Friday night, the Houston Texans made their biggest splash of free agency, signing Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu is sure to come in and be a key contributor right away. Steve Palazzolo of PFF argued that Mathieu could easily regain his 2015 form with proper utilization by his new defensive coordinator.
"“He can affect the game at all levels of the field, though there should be some concern that his coverage grades have declined over the last two seasons. Mathieu can be had when matched up against good slot receivers in man coverage, so the best bet to maximizing his value is tapping into the versatility. Mathieu’s new defensive coordinator should tap into his linebacker mentality that allows him to make plays in the run game, force fumbles and get after the quarterback while excelling around the line of scrimmage.”"
Romeo Crennel has been a defensive coordinator for a long, long time. I have full confidence that RAC will implement and unleash the Honey Badger to the fullest of his ability. Mathieu has a nose for the football, bringing it’s carrier down or taking it himself.
Mathieu’s deal is for one year worth up to $7 million. However, this deal will pale in comparison to the deal the Houston Texans should swing for next. The player the Houston Texans should lock down next is none other than the freak himself, Jadeveon Clowney.
Why the Houston Texans should lock down Clowney
I wrote a piece about three months ago cataloging Clowney’s journey in the NFL thus far. How he was close to being labeled a bust, but how he has now righted the ship and regained SUPERSTAR status. Feel free to run through that piece for more in depth detail on Clowney, this piece will be shorter.
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These past two years Clowney has been one of the healthiest and most consistent players on the Houston Texans defense. He played 30 out a possible 32 games. However, availability alone hasn’t been the only positive thing about him.
PFF rated Clowney, this past year, at an 88.3. This barely edged out his 2016 grade. While Clowney has never eclipsed the double digit sacks, he has had a TREMENDOUS pass rushing impact. He combined for a total of 65+ pressures in 2017. His pass rushing prowess led to his second career pro bowl selection.
Clowney’s excellence goes beyond pass rushing. He is a premiere run stopper as well. His ability to bend around the edge is phenomenal. With his outstanding speed he can chase down almost any back from behind. Take a look at this play from a year ago:
Clowney is able to redirect and get after any quarterback, running back, or wide receiver in the game. Locking down this star is more than necessary, but it is going to be EXPENSIVE.
How much will Clowney cost the Houston Texans?
In the last year of his rookie deal, Clowney will be earning $12.3 million. Which is down from the $13.8 million due to a reclassification from defensive end to outside linebacker. While this is a large number, it will barely be able to stand in the shadow of what he’ll eventually earn.
Clowney, Khalil Mack, and Aaron Donald are all three fighting for the next top defensive deal. Last off season, Fletcher Cox of the Eagles signed a deal worth $103 million and $63 million guaranteed. The deals these three will absolutely eclipse Cox’s deal.
The money Clowney gets likely depends on which order this trio signs in. If Clowney signs first he like eclipses Cox’s but will then be surpassed. If he signs last, he’ll likely have the largest contract by a defender.
The sooner the Houston Texans sign Clowney, the “cheaper” he’ll be. The team needs to lock this stud down as soon as possible. In the end, the Texans should sign Clowney this off season and lock him up for the foreseeable future. The deal will eclipse $110 million with $70 million guaranteed. Yes, it is a lot. Yes it will be worth it.