The Houston Texans reportedly had trouble finding a taker for Jadeveon Clowney and the $15.9 million attached to him via the franchise tag, so they wound up paying a large chunk of his salary in Saturday’s trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Texans agreed to pay Clowney’s $7 million signing bonus, leaving Seattle on the hook for just over half of this season’s salary.
Additionally, the Seahawks agreed to not use the franchise tag on Clowney next offseason. Given a second straight application of the tag, that would have guaranteed him a $19.2 million salary, but Clowney was more interested in a long-term deal.
Clowney’s salary proved to be a problem
Although Clowney is one of the most talented edge rushers in the league — a vital position every team — his prohibitive salary and short-term contract made it a surprisingly tough sell.
As Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported, the Miami Dolphins — who were involved with the Texans in another trade Saturday — were the only team believed to be willing to eat all of Clowney’s contract.
Add in the fact that Clowney had asked out and specifically wanted to join the Seahawks or Philadelphia Eagles, and the Texans’ task of dealing their former franchise cornerstone was not enviable. Since he still hadn’t signed the franchise tender and didn’t want to sign a long-term deal, there wasn’t much they could have done.
Throwing in money to get rid of one of your best players doesn’t sound good, but the alternative of letting him hold out the whole season is much worse.
Seahawks able to replace Frank Clark and then some
With news that the Seahawks only have to pay a 27-year-old three-time Pro Bowler $8.9 million this season, it underscores the fact that they made the right move to trade fellow edge rusher Frank Clark in April.
If he had played out the 2019 season under the franchise tag, Clark would have made $17.1 million. Instead, the team replaced him with a pair of former top-5 overall picks in Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah ($7.9 million cap hit).
Clowney and Ansah lack the consistency the Seahaws may have gotten from Clark, but it’s hard to argue about their additional value before considering the $300,000 they saved on their cap sheet.
Seattle didn’t give up a ton to land Clowney — a third-rounder and edge defenders Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin — but it may still feel like a loss if they can’t lock up Clowney beyond 2019. Regardless, they’re clearly coming out in the black for this season after letting their star edge rusher go.
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