Houston Texans: Three reasons why to trade Jadeveon Clowney now

Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images) /
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Houston Texans DEs Watt and Clowney
FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 24: Jadeveon Clowney #90 and J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Reason #2: It’s all about the depth for the Houston Texans

Clowney makes this defense better but could this team weather the storm without him?  Absolutely and with the talented edge rushers that the Texans have on this team, I think this ship would sail just fine, albeit a bit slower but it could still get from Point A to B on time.

The addition of 6th-round pick Duke Ejiofor out of Wake Forest out of this year’s draft makes the possibility of a trade even fathomable.  Many experts had Duke graded as high as being drafted in the third-round but concerns about health caused his draft stock to drop faster than a rock.  He has been healthy this season — thanks to the Texans‘ new training staff — and things look promising for his growth.  This notion of trading Clowney would be ridiculous had it been last season but I strongly have the courage of writing such a conviction at this time.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Ejiofor has 4th-highest pass rush grade out of the entire defensive unit through three games at a decent 67.3.  Clowney’s currently at a 55.5 (10th).

Although Clowney is winning the run defense PFF battle — 74.1 (3rd) grade over Ejiofor’s 46.2 (19th) — I know Duke can increase his production there with more snaps.

Clowney comin’?  I think not, at least for now.

And there’s the knucklehead argument — his antics on the sidelines in the second half of the Week 2 matchup against the Tennessee Titans was unacceptable for a guy that was supposed to be injured.  He was too busy talking trash at the competition rather than trying to figure out how to help this team win a football game.

Coincedentally, Ejiofor’s largest opportunity to shine thus far this season was when he started in place of Clowney in that game as he was able to quickly notch his first NFL-career sack off Gabbert in the early goings.

Duke is a ball-hawk in every sense of the word and has been able to apply tremendous pressure on the given assignments that matter.  He also can help with special teams coverage, demonstrating how versatile he is as a game-changer.

Let’s backtrack to what I previously talking about and get situational — it was a first-and-10 play with the Titans having the ball on their 25-yard line.  The Houston Texans were up 17-14 with 13:25 left in the 4th quarter.  Clowney had some words for tight end Luke Stocker, who was forced out of bounds after an 11-yard catch from Blaine Gabbert.

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Things got heated — and as a result, the Texans were flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty costing them 15 yards and the Titans got an automatic first down.  That drive ended up with the Titans getting close enough to have Ryan Succop nail a 42-yard field goal that tied the game.  Field positioning is everything and who’s to say the Titans wouldn’t have gotten themselves in scoring position?  I think they wouldn’t have.

Plus, Clowney was fined $10,026 for the taunting penalty.  Do the Texans want to deal with that over multi-years of a Clowney extension?  We’ll have to see.

I could certainly make the case that his lackluster play is a result of his frustration with his contract situation.  He may not feel that he’s valued which would certainly make sense.

Watt, Ejiofor, Brennan Scarlett, Whitney Mercilus and Peter Kalambayi, another 6th-rounder from the 2018 Draft, could more than pick up the slack for Clowney, especially if this season goes into the crapper.   There are many of you who think it already has anyway.