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.
Dolphins are very interested in trading for Jadeveon Clowney, according to league sources, but have to get him interested in going there. Prefers Seahawks, Eagles as potential destinations. Fluid situation because he has leverage as unsigned franchise player— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 27, 2019
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.
#Texans franchised pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney has met in person with #Dolphins coach Brian Flores and other members of the organization’s brass, sources say. There has been speculation that Miami is a possible landing spot.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 27, 2019
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.
The Texans did engage teams on Jadeveon Clowney some in the spring. The belief then, according to multiple clubs involved, was that he could be had for a second-round pick.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 27, 2019
Wilson reports that Miami is unwilling to include tackle Laremy Tunsil in any deal.
Dolphins are not willing to include offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil in a prospective trade scenario involving Jadeveon Clowney, according to league sources. Texans need help at running back in addition to offensive tackle— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 27, 2019
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.
Jadeveon Clowney fired veteran agent Bus Cook, according to league sources today. Texans unsigned franchise player extremely frustrated with situation has five days before he can hire new agent— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 27, 2019
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.
Notes IF Jadeveon Clowney were to be traded:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 27, 2019
* Clowney must first sign his franchise tag tender
* He's due $15.97M in cash and counts $15.97M against the cap
* Cannot be extended until after the season
* Just 26 years old
* Has played in 60 of 80 career games with 29.0 sacks
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.
Hate to deflate #Eagles Twitter, but if the #Texans were to ever put Jadeveon Clowney on the trade block, I don’t think he’s viewed by the power brokers in Philly as someone fitting their cap/culture situations. #NFL is a never say never league, but that’s not looking like a fit.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) July 26, 2019
4. One more note on #Eagles pass rush: Twice in the last month, I’ve asked if there is any interest in Jadeveon Clowney. And twice the response has been flat. His culture fit doesn’t seem right and his extension figures – likely around 5 years and $110 million – are a big burden.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) August 14, 2019
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.