Experience: 4 seasons
Status: 5th-Year Option
An athletic marvel with speed, quickness, power, and length, Clowney is truly a destructive, explosive, and tenacious athlete on the field.
His physical and technical abilities allow him to be a versatile chess piece for the Texans defense. The South Carolina product plays more than 3-4 outside linebacker in Houston, lining up in various spots along the defensive line.
He can beat offensive tackles around the edge with his first step, speed, and bend, while also bullying guards and centers with powerful rush moves on the inside. More than a pass rusher, he also thrives in the opponent’s backfield, evidenced by hos 38 tackles for loss over the last two seasons.
Clowney has yet to record the sack numbers that are to be expected from a former #1 overall pick, but as far as disruption, he is one of the best in the NFL.
After dealing with injuries and adjusting to the NFL in his first two seasons, he’s strung together back-to-back Pro Bowl selections and has been the center of the Houston defense while Watt has dealt with injuries during that span.
Pass Rusher Market
Player Comparables: DEN Von Miller, NYG Olivier Vernon, ARI Chandler Jones
Statistical Comparison (Season Averages in 2 Seasons Before Deal)
Clowney is another player who impacts the game in places other than the stat sheet.
Miller’s deal is somewhat of an outlier, especially when considering the cap percentage of his deal (2018 APY). Getting Vernon’s above Vernon’s 47% full guarantees and above the $million mark in the first three
|Player||Year||Age||Yrs||Total||APY||GTD||F GTD||1st 3||18 APY|
2018 Cap Adjusted Annual Salary: $19.6 million
If the Texans want, they can retain Clowney for 2018, 2019 and 2020 (two franchise tags). Clowney’s linebacker designation (for his 5th-year option) would make his franchise tags even more manageable for the Texans.
It would be easy to understand the Texans’ hesitance in signing another defensive cornerstone to a “mega extension” when considering Clowney’s brief injury history with J.J. Watt’s situation. It would be crippling to have two players out who account for that percentage of a team’s salary cap.
However, as a complete talent and an irreplaceable part of the Houston defense, Clowney will demand a salary among the highest paid defensive players in the NFL.
Salary Floor: $17.0 million per season
Vernon’s unadjusted APY ($17.0M) has to be the salary floor in negotiations for Clowney; he shouldn’t even entertain offers below that threshold.
Salary Ceiling: $19.5 million per season
If Clowney does surpass Von Miller as the NFL’s highest paid defensive player, it will more than likely be by the slimmest of margins. Hitting the $20 million mark is a long shot.
Clowney said he wants to be a Texan for long term, and that could very well be the case…but the opportunity have sign a three-year extension and hit free agency again at 29 seems like a great situation to be in. Will Clowney go the short-term deal with a lot of guaranteed money or the type of 5-6 contracts we’ve seen in recent years.
Von Miller probably won’t eclipsed just yet, with Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack waiting next. However, Clowney stays in Houston through 2022 at get to free agency again at 30 (maybe).
4-years, $74 million, $18.5M APY $55M guaranteed, $38M fully guaranteed