The Jadeveon Clowney trade buzz is quite real, as the former top overall draft pick could be traded before the NFL regular season begins on Sept. 5. Even if the Texans hold on to Clowney to start the season, there is a very good chance they will be selling off parts before the trade deadline. Houston has one of the more difficult schedules in the NFL to start the season, and a slow start would expedite the need to get something in return for Clowney.
Here’s what the Washington Post’s John Clayton said about the Clowney situation:
“There’s no way he’ll be released but there remains a feeling around the league that the Texans might move him in a trade. He’s under a one-year franchise contract worth nearly $16 million. The Indianapolis Colts and the Texans have the most cap room in the league, so this would be more about the longterm and getting an asset for a player they might not want to sign to a big contract extension than concern over this year’s cap.”
No doubt, a ton of the league’s top contenders will take a hard look at making a trade for Clowney.
The Eagles have consistently been mentioned as a top landing spot as Howie Roseman has strategically left the salary cap door open for one more big move this fall. The Eagles have over $18 million available in cap space, and Clowney’s due $16 million in 2019.
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Clowney would only add to an already impressive Eagles defensive line. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz loves to rotate players in and out to keep them fresh and uses a wide-nine alignment that would complement Clowney’s strengths.
The Patriots are another team that have played the salary cap wisely in order to make one more move. The Pats routinely made big additions (Aqib Talib) and subtractions (Jimmy Garoppolo, Jamie Collins) at the trade deadline, and could have the inside track on a Clowney trade given Bill Belichick’s relationship with Houston head coach Bill O’Brien.
The Patriots recently opened up around $5.5 million more in cap space due to Tom Brady’s contract extension.
New England is currently reverting to the formula that worked so well for them early in the Brady – Belichick era, as they resemble more of a defensive and run-first oriented team. With the return of Collins and the addition of Michael Bennet, the Pats should have their best defensive unit since 2004. Like the Eagles, adding Clowney would be a luxury item – but both teams are certainly in “win-now” mode with Clowney potentially putting one of them over the top.
The Browns are a third team that could look to pull the trigger on Clowney. The Browns currently have the third most cap space in the league despite bringing in all of that big-name talent, but they must be mindful of their longterm cap ramifications. Cleveland also doesn’t have the amount of draft capital that the Eagles and Patriots feature, so they would ultimately lose if this becomes a bidding war.
Finally, there has been chatter that the Jets could make a move for Clowney but as of now he would basically be a rental. The Jets are building steadily but are nowhere near true Super Bowl contention like the previous three teams in this piece, so a move by Joe Douglas for Clowney is highly unlikely.