What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones is putting a halt to all of the rumors that Nick Foles to the Jaguars is a done deal, referring to them as “premature.”
The Houston Texans announced they have placed the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, potentially keeping the edge rusher with the franchise for at least one more season.
Clowney and the Texans now have until the July 15 deadline for them to agree to terms of a long-term deal. If both sides cannot reach an agreement by then, Clowney will be forced to either sign the tag and play 2019 under those terms or sit out, similar to what former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell did this past season.
The tag the Texans placed on Clowney is non-exclusive, which means the team can match any potential offer sheets he would draw from other organizations during free agency. If the Texans decline to match an offer, they would receive two first-round selections from the team making the deal as compensation.
“Today, we have placed the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, but our goal is to continue to work with his representation on a long-term contract,” Texans general manager Briane Gaine said Monday in a statement. “This gives us both an opportunity to continue to do so.”
One sticking point that could complicate whether or not Clowney plays on the tag is that the team lists him as a linebacker/defensive end. According to numbers released by the NFL, defensive ends who are designated with the franchise tag would stand to make $17.13 million, while linebackers would earn $15.44 million.
The difference in positional pay was an item that Clowney contested when the Texans exercised his fifth-year option for the 2018 season. According to ESPN, however, the Texans paid Clowney a $1 million bonus at the end of this season to make up for the difference in designated salary between the two positions.
Clowney, 26, has been with the Texans for five seasons after the team used the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 draft to pluck him from South Carolina. He is widely viewed as one of the top young pass rushers in the NFL, and he certainly would’ve commanded a significant market in free agency had Houston opted not to tag him.
Clowney has racked up 205 tackles and 29 sacks in 62 career games. He’s coming off of a 2018 season in which he collected 47 tackles, nine sacks and one forced fumble.
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.