On Friday, the Houston Texans exercised their team option on former number one overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney struggled with injuries in his first few seasons with the team. However, he enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2016. The team option ensures that the Texans can see Clowney continue to blossom into a dominant defensive player.
In 2016, Clowney recorded a career high with 6 sacks. He exploded onto the national spotlight with his highlights during his time at South Carolina. In January, Clowney again made national highlight reels, as he had an acrobatic interception in the Texans’ wild card playoff victory. In the AFC Divisional matchup with New England, Clowney terrorized the eventual Super Bowl Champions. He constantly had Tom Brady ducking for cover in the pocket, and helped keep the Texans in the game during the first half.
With the option, the defensive end/outside linebacker will make between $12-14 million, depending on which position he spends the most time playing. However, the move doesn’t inhibit the Texans from working out a long-term deal with Clowney. In fact, the move ensures that they can focus on locking up fellow contract-year player DeAndre Hopkins, who is also due a nice pay raise.
Going forward, the team will look for more dominance from Clowney in 2017. His play was huge in replacing the void left by J.J. Watt’s season-ending injury last year. In 2017, the team could have the most vaunted defense in the league. Coupled with Clowney’s play, the team will get back J.J. Watt from injury, and will continue to have Whitney Mercilus as a merciless presence on the edge. With a little improvement on offense, there’s no reason why the Texans can’t be a dominant team in 2017.