The Houston Texans, a team owned by a guy who is a massive dickhead even for an NFL owner, had what one might call a curious offseason. First, they gave Gentleman’s C coach and former Tom Brady jockstrap launderer Bill O’Brien full personnel control. Second, they tried to chisel one of their best players out of a million bucks by franchise tagging him at a position that wasn’t even formally accurate. This all reached its logical conclusion:
Houston’s first move under this committee was to send a likely third-round pick to the Browns for Duke Johnson, who was buried on Cleveland’s depth chart and held little trade value. Their second was to trade Clowney for an extremely modest return. Given what they did on Saturday, the Texans should have just held onto Clowney for 2019 before franchising him again in 2020 and shipping him off for a better offer next offseason. (They also could have chosen to simply let Clowney leave after the year for what would have been a third-round compensatory pick in 2021, but that pick would have disappeared if the Texans were active in free agency, which seems likely.) Even before this trade, Houston was projected with nearly $80 million in cap space and wasn’t likely to need their franchise tag to re-sign one of their other free agents, with the likes of Nick Martin and Whitney Mercilus as their most pressing options.
In trading Clowney for peanuts, the Texans also are giving up a key player during the third year of Deshaun Watson‘s bargain rookie deal. Other organizations are desperate to add talent while their quarterbacks are on seven-figure salaries. The Texans, instead, are doing the opposite. In what could be related news, the Seahawks have an actual general manager and the Texans have a committee with several people, some of whom once shared wireless internet with Bill Belichick.
Even worse is that the Texans have now shipped off a valuable draft pick and their best trade chit — a star edge rusher in the prime of his career — without acquiring a single offensive lineman. Watson is going to head into Week 1 with former Vikings and Panthers starter Matt Kalil as his left tackle, despite the fact that Kalil has been below average for years, missed all of 2018 with a knee injury, and didn’t practice for a full week this month. Houston clearly wants to build its organization around the principles Belichick has succeeded with for two decades in New England. Would Belichick trade a third-round pick for a change-of-pace back and enter into the season with a replacement-level tackle protecting his star quarterback’s blind side?
Heckuva job! As Barnwell was saying on Twitter earlier this week, one reason the Pats have been able to remain dominant is that teams have tried to emulate Belichick by hiring former Patriots to do the opposite of what Belichick does rather than just copying everything about Belichick’s approach that can be copied. To put it more succinctly:
At some point, the #Texans front office downshifted from ” trying to help the team ” through “trying to prove who’s in charge ” to just “hoping to save face.” And failed in all three.— Mike Tanier (@MikeTanier) August 31, 2019
We got @clownejd.
Let me break it down with this visual of how John Schneider operates.
PS. If he doesn’t win executive of the year, then he can always fall back to our cornhole championship, or his Super Bowl win. #GoHawks and welcome to the best fans in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/1sjZh7qYgt— WALTER JONES (@BigWalt71) August 31, 2019
Now, if you’re willing to talk about DeAndre Hopkins, we would consider a second rounder and a 2-1 Space Needle admission pass!