Watt-Clowney Combo: Leverage In Potential (Inevitable?) Watt Holdout
There are lots of good problems to have.
For the Houston Texans, that may soon include the combo of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney proving to be so unstoppable, the team would have to do just about anything to keep it intact — including cave in the event of a Watt holdout.
In last night’s preseason opener, on the first play where Watt and Clowney were stacked at 3-4 defensive end and outside linebacker, Watt erupted into the Arizona Cardinals backfield for a sack and eight yard loss. Later, in the same alignment, Clowney tore through the line for a five-yard tackle for loss.
Insert all necessary preseason caveats here. But this could be a recurring theme for the Texans.
If so, no one would be more keenly aware of that than Watt, who despite being maybe the NFL’s best defensive player is earning a paltry $1.9 million in 2014, the last year of his rookie deal, and $6.9 million in 2015, his fifth-year option year.
No one knows for sure how much, exactly, Watt will command in his next contract — or if he holds out, something he might do if, say, he were given the franchise tag, something owner Bob McNair this week said he would consider.
Of course, if the success of this pairing is so strong that it gives Watt a reason to hold out, it also gives the Texans more reason to give in to his demands. Though there have been many a really good 3-4 outside linebacker, the league has seen few instances where two generational talents are playing on the same side, one behind the other, in a 3-4 defense.
If it comes to that, the Texans would be smart to protect it at, literally, all costs.
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