Former number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney and his current team the Houston Texans seem headed for a break-up. Clowney has not yet signed his franchise tender and the Texans did not offer a contract to his liking before the deadline for an extension passed. It seems more and more likely as the regular season nears that Clowney will be suiting up somewhere else. 

So that begs the question, could the Eagles trade for Jadeveon Clowney?

Miami wants Clowney, but he wants Seattle or Philadelphia

Houston Chronicle reporter Aaron Wilson reported Tuesday via the below tweet stating that Clowney has some interest in joining the Eagles.

However, as Wilson starts with, the Miami Dolphins appear to be the front-runner in any possible Clowney sweepstakes. This goes along with a later tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport where he reports that Clowney has met with Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and members of Miami’s front office.  

 

As Wilson says, Clowney has some leverage in any trade discussions. Because he has not yet signed his franchise tender, he is technically not under contract. Therefore, he could threaten to refuse to sign the franchise tag and not play if he is traded to a team he dislikes. Clowney will almost certainly want a new contract from any team he heads to, as this is the whole reason he is still holding out. 

What could a deal look like?

SI’s Albert Breer reports that the belief in the spring was that the asking price for Clowney was a second round pick.

Wilson reports that Miami is unwilling to include tackle Laremy Tunsil in any deal.

So, by reading the tea leaves here, one can reason to think that the cost could be something like a 2020 second round pick and either an offensive tackle, running back, or possibly both.

How much would Clowney cost?

Clowney obviously cares about getting a lucrative extension. If he didn’t he wouldn’t be holding out and he wouldn’t have fired his agent. 

But unfortunately for him, the deadline to so this season passed. He would have had to sign an extension by the July 15th deadline for franchise tagged players. So no matter where he possibly gets traded, he would have to play out the 2019 season on the franchise tag. The amount on the tag is $15.97M. His new team would have to pay that full amount and it would count against their cap. Then the trading team would have to work out a contract after the season or Clowney walks in free agency.

A contract extension would most likely be north of $100M. This is because of the fact Clowney is just 26 years old and in today’s NFL pass rushers get paid hefty salaries. 

So what does all this mean for the Eagles?

Howie Roseman has the ammo to trade for Clowney if he wants to. The Eagles could offer a package of picks along with Halapoulivaati Vaitai to the Texans. Such a package would fulfill the Texans’ reported desire of a second round pick and a young, starting caliber offensive tackle. The Eagles also have the cap space to fit Clowney’s 2019 salary. (over $18.7M according to OverTheCap

Adding Clowney to the Eagles’ already loaded defensive line would make Jim Schwartz’s defense that much more deadly. It would also ease concerns about the losses of Michael Bennett and Chris Long. 

However, Clowney is clearly not going to come off the bench like Long or Vinny Curry. He is going to want the lion’s share of playing time in order to build up his value before free agency. The Eagles are known for their “fastballs” strategy in which they constantly rotate their defensive line in the game, so Clowney’s arrival would not banish anyone to the bench. But, it would either cut into the playing time of Super Bowl hero and recently extended Brandon Graham or 2017 first round pick Derek Barnett. Would either of those players take issue with taking a backseat to Clowney?

Not so fast

There is one crucial thought to keep in mind despite everything said above: There has not been a credible report saying the Eagles themselves were interested in Clowney. All we have seen reported is that Clowney prefers Philadelphia as a landing spot. In fact, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported back in July and early August that the Eagles were not interested in Clowney.

 

Things could have changed since Robinson said this, of course, but the thinking here is that Clowney is most likely going to be traded. Also, Howie Roseman is always up for making his team better no matter how crazy the trade may seem. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.