Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney Contract Extension Projection

Measureables

Height: 6-5
Weight: 266
Age: 25
Experience: 4 seasons
Status: 5th-Year Option

Profile

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.

Production

Season G Tck Sacks QBH Hurry Press TFL FF FR PD
2014 4 7 0 0 3 3.0 3 0 0 0
2015 13 40 4.5 8 22 29.5 8 1 0 6
2016 14 52 6.0 17 16 34.0 16 1 0 2
2017 16 59 9.5 21 25 46.5 21 2 2 2
Totals 47 158 20.0 46 66 113.0 48 4 2 10

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. 

Player Seasons Sacks Pressures Hurries QB Hits TFL FF FR
Von Miller 2014-15 12.5 79.5 50.5 29.5 12.5 2.5 2.0
Olivier Vernon 2014-15 7.0 61.5 34.0 24.5 13.5 1.0 0.0
Chandler Jones 2015-16 11.75 45.75 25.5 19.5 13.0 4.0 1.0
Averages 10.4 62.3 36.7 24.5 13.0 2.5 1.0
Jadeveon Clowney 2016-17 7.75 40.25 20.5 17.0 18.5 1.5 1.0

Contract Comparison

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
Von Miller 2016 27 6 $114.5M $19.1M $70.0M $42.0M $61.0M $21.9M
Olivier Vernon 2016 26 5 $85.0M $17.0M $52.5M $40.0M $54.0M $19.5M
Chandler Jones 2017 27 5 $82.5M $16.0M $51.0M $31.0M $51.0M $17.5M

Contract information from OverTheCap.com and Spotrac.com

2018 Cap Adjusted Annual Salary: $19.6 million

Leverage

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.

Contract Projection

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

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