The NFL franchise tag finally stopped haunting  LeVeon Bell this spring after he inked a long-term deal with the New York Jets.

However, the league’s makeshift one–year contract feature now holds Houston Texans defensive star Jadeveon Clowney in its jaws, something that instigaties further conflicts between Clowney and the Texans’ front office.

Around the same time the Jets bestowed the long-term, guaranteed contract that Bell craved so dearly — yet was frequently denied during his holdout in Pittsburgh — the Houston Texans extended the franchise tag to Clowney after the two sides failed to reach an agreement. Although the tag poises to fill Clowney’s wallet with significant funds in exchange for his services, the former first overall pick clearly illustrated his preference for a long-term contract and absent enthusiasm to play under the franchise tag, as most players do.

Aside form failing to extend a worthy offer to Clowney, Houston now appears ready to cheat Clowney once more after recently labeling him as a “DE/LB,” instead of just a DE. For the upcoming season, the NFL franchise tag salary for defensive ends totals up to $17,128,000, while for a linebacker the tag offers just $15,443,000 instead. Therefore, this move offers Houston a chance to pay Clowney a significant $1.7 million dollars less if they choose to classify him as a linebacker, rather than as a defensive end.


Aside from the likely backlash from both Clowney and his agent in response to this move from the Texans, the NFLPA reportedly plans to help out Clowney as well by filling a grievance in Houston over the dispute.

Although his health inconsistencies kept him off the field occasionally during his young career, when playing, Clowney stands in as a dangerous pass rusher for opposing offenses. Clowney tallied 18.5 sacks over his last two seasons despite missing two starts for the Texans. Pro Football Focus also awarded Clowney with a 91.2 run–defense grade, the second-highest amongst edge rushers last year. Clowney helped assemble perhaps the AFC’s most destructive defenses last year that catapulted Houston to another AFC South title.

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