The Texans reportedly won’t be signing linebacker Jadeveon Clowney to a long-term deal before Monday’s deadline for agreeing to terms on a multi-year contract with franchise tagged players. And there’s a good reason for that.
Per a league source, former G.M. Brian Gaine and current head coach Bill O’Brien disagreed on whether to make a long-term commitment to the first overall pick in the 2014 draft. With Gaine now gone, O’Brien’s preferred approach prevails.
The first player selected during O’Brien’s tenure in Houston (yes, it really has been that long), Clowney has completed his four-year rookie deal and his fifth-year option. The Texans have chosen to keep him for one more year under the franchise tag, at a tender of $15.967 million.
Next year, if the Texans tag Clowney again, his one-year salary will increase by 20 percent, to $19.16 million. Absent a long-term deal or a second tag, Clowney will become a free agent.
For now, Clowney remains caught in the downside to the rookie wage scale. Adopted in order to prevent high-profile busts from receiving money they never earn, the system that arrived in 2011 also allows teams to squat on high-level picks who pan out, keeping their major payday away from them for six or seven years.
Regardless, that’s the rule — and O’Brien wanted to proceed this way. With no G.M. in place, O’Brien clearly is calling the shots on this one.