Texans edge-rusher Jadeveon Clowney must prove he can stay healthy before the Texans will commit to a high-dollar, long-term deal, according to the Houston Chronicle, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll get an extension before the 2018 season.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Clowney is slated to make $12.3 million this season under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract.
The Chronicle’s longtime NFL beat reporter John McClain writes:
I may be wrong, but I don’t think the Texans will sign Clowney to an extension. He missed the on-field part of the offseason program to rehab a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery in January. Until he shows them he’s healthy, able to consistently stay on the field and play as well or better than last season, I don’t see them committing long-term to him.
The Texans have proved they’re willing to commit to players, most recently signing linebacker Benardrick McKinney to a five-year, $50 million extension.
There’s some risk for Houston regarding Clowney.
In 2017, he had 9 1/2 sacks and 21 tackles for losses in 16 games, playing without injured J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus over the final 11, by far Clowney’s most effective season in an injury-plagued pro career.
If he is relatively healthy a second consecutive season and puts up big numbers again, his price will jump.
The Texans also could use the franchise tag on him in March if they can’t come to terms before camp (GM Brian Gaine makes it a policy not to negotiate during the season).
As for a potential holdout, Texans coach Bill O’Brien told the Chronicle that he expects Clowney to be in camp when it opens July 26.