Jadeveon Clowney has always had more potential than production and been more flash than substance. When the Houston Texansselected him with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, it was hard to argue with their decision. But now, as his holdout lingers, it’s clearer now more than ever Houston should trade him.
Clowney was a monster at South Carolina, and he was destined to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, especially after he did this:
It was just one play, but that complete annihilation of Michigan’s Vincent Smith changed the whole game for Clowney. He became a household name before his junior year even began. Unfortunately, it’s been the highlight of his career on the field so far.
Clowney entered the draft after his junior season and tested off-the-charts at the combine. At 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds, he ran a 4.53 40 and flashed a 37.5-inch vertical. It was absurd. Those skills haven’t led to NFL production, though. Clowney has played in 62 NFL games over the past five seasons and has just 29 sacks to show for it. His rookie year was cut short by a knee injury after just four games, but he’s been relatively healthy since. His best season game in 2017 where he amassed 59 tackles and 9.5 sacks, yet has never topped those modest numbers. The problem is, he wants top-tier edge rusher money and Pro Football Focus ranked him ninth among edge rushers for the 2018 season.
At 26-years-old, some observers still drool over Clowney’s potential. He has the tools to dominate the NFL, but hasn’t put it all together. He can impact games without racking up stats, which is backed by being named Second-Team All-Pro in 2016 and making three Pro Bowls, but he’s not consistently making the big plays expected of him. And, frankly, if you’re going to pay him that kind of money, he needs to be contributing big plays.
All that said, the Texans could likely extract a good return for Clowney in a trade.
That would free them up to give Deshaun Watson a long-term deal he’ll eventually need and fill some other holes on the roster. Clowney is a luxury at this point, not a necessity. They need to do it now, though; the price will drop every day from this point as the time between when a trade can be executed and when Clowney will be ready for game day grows larger.
The Texans are getting offered trades for Clowney, and he reportedly already met with Dolphins brass. Houston need to engage and take the best one. He’s not worth a big, long-term deal. They need to take what they can get.