The Houston Texans and Jadeveon Clowney have been in a standoff since the team franchise-tagged Clowney earlier this offseason. The saga finally came to an end on Saturday as Houston agreed to trade Clowney to the Seahawks. While Clowney hasn’t been everything the franchise hoped when they picked him first overall in 2014, he’s a solid player who still has some untapped potential and is only 26 years old. So the Texans must’ve gotten a decent return for such a player, right?
The Texans traded Clowney, a former No. 1 pick with 18.5 sacks and 37 tackles for loss over the last two seasons, for (presumably) a late third-round pick, a bust of a former first-round pick who has 10 sacks and 24 tackles for loss in his entire career, and some guy named Jacob Martin. It’s even more unbelievable when you think about how the Texans got to this point.
As a brief recap, Brian Gaine was their GM going into the offseason. He drafted for the team and made all their free-agent moves. He was then fired, the Texans were caught tampering with the Patriots’ Director of Player Personnel while he was still under contract, and they decided to just wait until next year to hire a proper GM. The NFLPA filed a grievance on Clowney’s behalf against Houston, accusing them of labeling Clowney as a DE/LB instead of just a defensive end to lessen the cost of a franchise tag. Clowney refused to sign the tag, and with no leverage, the Texans reportedly shopped Clowney to five different teams before settling on Seattle. Despite their need for offensive line help, despite having months to get this deal done… This is what Houston comes away with.
The Texans would be found guilty of football malpractice after this debacle if such a charge existed. They aggravated a talented player but apparently refused to acknowledge that a trade was the right move until literally everyone in the league knew they had to trade him. I can’t imagine any information coming to light that would change the optics on this egregious series of events.
Maybe Clowney’s league-wide value is just a third-rounder and spare parts. But it’s hard to imagine there wasn’t one team in the entire NFL that wasn’t willing to part with even a slightly-above-average player or a second-round pick for someone as filled with athletic potential as Clowney. If they’d even had a modicum of foresight and started looking at trade options before, y’know, the eve of the regular season, who knows what they could have gotten?
This trade isn’t a reflection of how the league sees Clowney. It’s a condemnation of the Texans and how they’ve done business this offseason. It’s tough to point a figure at any one individual, given they’re going forward with GM-by-committee (what a concept), but this was a complete failure. Houston, you have a problem. It’s time to figure it out before it’s too late.