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Texans use non-exclusive franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney

Texans coach Bill O'Brien at the combine. | AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Jadeveon Clowney, one of this NFL offseason’s top potential free agents, won’t hit the open market after the Texans decided to use the franchise tag on the star pass rusher. Houston announced Monday that it has used the non-exclusive tag, which gives the team the right to match any offer sheet signed by Clowney or receive two first-round picks.

Clowney is being designated as an outside linebacker, so his franchise tag would be worth $15.443 million on a one-year deal.

The Texans still want to sign Clowney to a long-term extension and can negotiate with his agent, Bus Cook, on a lengthier deal until the July 15 deadline, according to the Houston Chronicle. By using the franchise tag, they ensure there’s no chance that he walks as a free agent without them having the chance to match the offer or receive anything in return.

Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has started living up to that billing in recent years by making three consecutive Pro Bowls. He recorded 59 tackles and 9.5 sacks in a breakout 2017 season, then followed it up with 47 tackles and nine sacks last year. Thanks to Clowney and J.J. Watt, the Texans had one of last season’s best defenses, finishing fourth in the NFL in points allowed.