Why it’s time to stop laughing at the Houston Texans

I’m not trying to be a contrarian. Hear me out.

I think what Houston did this weekend might make sense.

At the very least, I think there are some things to consider.

Mike Florio touted the possibility of Houston rescinding Jadeveon Clowney’s franchise tag on Friday. We saw the Panthers do something similar with Josh Norman a few years ago.

By now we know the Texans were close to making a blockbuster trade for Laremy Tunsil. They’d seemingly tried to include Clowney in a trade package for Tunsil, only for the player to rebuff that possibility by refusing to sign his franchise tender.

Having concluded they still wanted to make a deal for Tunsil, the Texans and Dolphins agreed a trade including two first round picks and a second round pick instead.

Presumably Houston intends to pay Tunsil having given up a kings ransom to acquire him. Therefore, simply moving on from Clowney made some sense. He was taking up $16m. If there was no chance of him playing for you in 2019 (or extending his contract) — and with zero trade leverage — it’s logical to think they preferred to just ‘move on’. Let him go.

If they were going to remove the tag that also partly explains why they’ve offered to pay half of Clowney’s salary to get something in return, rather than leave empty-handed.

Even if they weren’t planning to rescind the tag and were simply willing trade him for the best offer, they’d gone past the point of no return. Sometimes you’ve just got to know when to move on. If the Seahawks had come to that conclusion a year ago with Earl Thomas, they would’ve avoided getting nothing for him but a future comp pick.

Clearly the Texans handled this poorly at the beginning of the off-season. Extending Clowney should’ve been a priority. If it wasn’t, they should’ve dealt him months ago.

However, there was plenty of talk about Houston trying to make a deal before and after the draft. Having seen Frank Clark dealt for a first and second round pick — they were well within their rights to seek similar compensation. Such an offer wasn’t forthcoming and they were stuck.

Weren’t the Seahawks in a similar position 18 months ago? It’s clear they were open to trading Earl Thomas. Dallas flirted with an offer but reportedly only offered a third rounder during the 2018 draft. Seattle wanted more and therefore simply moved on — allowing Thomas to play out the final year of his contract.

Sometimes — even if you intend to trade a player — you just can’t. When the offer doesn’t feel right it’s tempting to just carry on and hope the situation improves down the line. With Thomas and Clowney — that was never the case.

Twelve months ago if the Seahawks had traded Thomas for a third round pick and two additional players — most people would’ve said it was a bad trade. Yet he only played a few games before getting injured and then he was off as a free agent. That third round pick and those players might’ve, with hindsight, been a good deal.

Now the Texans have taken what was presumably the best offer on the table. Clearly Clowney has dictated that to an extent, having supposedly narrowed his preferred destinations to Seattle and Philadelphia. Yet the trade has allowed Houston to move on. They avoid any drama or distraction — the type of which that has hindered the Seahawks in the past.

The move preempted their Laremy Tunsil trade. And while it’s easy to scoff at the price tag — the Texans acquired a franchise left tackle who just turned 25. There aren’t many quality, young offensive tackles in the league. Now Houston has one. They won 11-games a year ago, they have a quality quarterback and some offensive weapons. They have J.J. Watt. They’re a stronger contender in the AFC over the next few years based on their moves this weekend than they were last season.

And let’s say next April they wanted to trade up to fill that gigantic hole at left tackle. Would they have to give up their 2021 pick to move up in round one? For a rookie? Isn’t this the same move, albeit for a player with genuine NFL experience?

You could also argue against Tunsil’s potential or current ability if you wish — or make a legitimate claim that the Texans should create a better environment so players like Duane Brown don’t want to leave in the first place.

Perspective is too infrequently used, however. People have spent two days hammering the Texans without ever truly attempting to see it from their point of view.

I actually think three teams can be satisfied after a busy weekend. The Seahawks fill their greatest need and improve their pass rush in 2019. The Texans move on from a potential distraction and get a much-needed left tackle. The Dolphins are well positioned to rebuild their franchise in 2020 (which has been their intention, as reported at the time by Adam Schefter, since the end of last season).

Laugh away at Houston if you wish. I think the better way to view the Clowney deal is this — the Seahawks saw an opportunity and emphatically ran with it. John Schneider and his staff should be applauded for their work in 2019. Not just the Clowney trade but also the Clark trade, the way they turned four draft picks into a haul and the way they managed to re-sign Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner in a matter of months.

This is the work of an executive of the year — regardless of Seattle’s eventual 2019 record.

Yet the Seahawks’ opportunism doesn’t necessarily have to mirror ineptitude on behalf of the Texans. They certainly created some of their own problems. They’ve also addressed them and can move on — importantly as a team capable of contending in the AFC right away.

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  1. DC

    The trade is up on seahawks.com now so if you were worried about a Lane 2.0 scenario, rest easy.

  2. drewdawg11

    Great points, Rob. I will say your point about them creating a better environment so players actually want to stay is their best bet moving forward. However, their owner isn’t going anywhere and his politics rub many players the wrong way. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this trade is the fact that Houston is pay almost half of his salary this year, and the Hawks promised to not tag JC. What a strange deal, indeed.

    • Rob Staton

      That particular owner (Bob McNair) actually died last November.

    • Gohawk5151

      Did not hear that they promised not to tag him. That seems like a bad business move.

      • Rob Staton

        It’s not a bad business move if Clowney turns round and says, ‘well in that case no deal’.

        Do people want Clowney in 2019 or not?

        Even if he leaves as a free agent, the absolute worst case scenario is he goes somewhere else after a single season at $8m and you potentially get a comp pick (maybe even a third rounder back).

        On every single level this is a fantastic trade for Seattle. Playing hard ball over the ability to tag him wasn’t worth it.

        • GerryG

          Agreed Rob, and I’m ok with Clowney leaving after this year. We can only have so many BIG contracts, and we already have two, and Reed may make three. We have lots of draft capital still, they need to turn it into young, cost effective pass rush.

          • Rob Staton

            With their cap space in 2020 I’m very happy for them to either retain their veteran pass rushers (2019 performance depending) or replace them. But some of their draft stock in 2020 has to go towards replenishing the cornerback position. They need an injection of talent and depth there.

            • Gerry Griesel

              True. They may need to consider drafting higher too. This later round mentality isn’t paying as high a dividends as it once was.

              • Spencer Dunan

                We still have a projected 10 picks and not a lot of needs. Can go a long way in replenishing talent at DE and CB. Maybe even grab a back up QB.

        • DJ 1/2 Way (Sea/PDX)

          Well Said, and excellent follow up to a great post. Sometimes, the “outsiders” view see what we American are blind to. Thanks for being back. This year is looking very exciting.

          • Saxon

            I’m American and I read it exactly the way Rob did. What does nationality have to do with anything? Once Houston made the deal with Miami their strategy was evident. I only fault them for waiting too long to deal Clowney. This is why smart teams like the Patriots cut ties early.

            @drewdog11 – Regarding an owner’s politics, how many jobs have you had where you agreed 100% with your employer’s politics? Did you make a big stink about it? How did that work out for you? If fidelity with political correctness is going to be the litmus test for acceptable employment then I hope you and Kenny Stills enjoy mixing macchiatos at Starbucks.

        • Elmer

          I prefer to focus on the positives for the Seahawks and let Houston worry about itself.

          Rob, it wasn’t too long ago that you were saying “Younger, Faster, Cheaper”. It looks to me like the Seahawks are right on that path, along with an intelligent mix of veterans like Ansah and Clowney. There are of course question areas (e.g., WR, DB) but there is much reason for optimism.

    • Robeetle12

      JJ Watt LOVES it in Houston and is a big contributor in the local community.

  3. Sea Mode

    They are rightfully all-in right now while Watson is still on his rookie deal, so the haul given up for Tunsil can be justified in that way. Stinks for them that they were unable to hold on to Clowney, even for just this year. Oh well, their loss is our gain.

    And FWIW, I think Mingo and Martin should excel in a 3-4 more than in our 4-3.

    (P.S. typo in 1st line: “hear me out”.)

  4. jopa726

    Great article Rob, I have been reading sbnation Houston Texans Battle Red blog. They have been hammering the head coach “BOB”. But you never know the results of a trade before they play the games. No one knows what may happen this season. However, the fan base is restless and Bill O’Brien is on the hot seat.

  5. mantis

    You mentioned that an offer for clowney was not forthcoming, why wouldn’t the texans get similar compensation as the seahawks did for clark, is he looked at by other teams as an inferior player to clark? Do you believe he is better? Maybe the texans were asking for more than the seahawks?

    • Rob Staton

      I suspect it’s because Frank is an explosive pass rush specialist while Clowney is more of a traditional end who plays the run well and isn’t that insane bend/quickness EDGE like Frank. That doesn’t mean Clowney doesn’t have special, unique attributes. He does. But Clark is like the Percy Harvin of pass rushers — a flashy toy that produces flashy plays.


        Maybe they were just a bit late to the party. Perhaps KC preferred Clark, but once they paid their price there wasn’t another team in quite the same market for a DE. Different players for sure, but timing might’ve been a factor as well. I remember the Clowney rumblings only started until after we got serious about trading Clark. Not to pile on, but as you’ve said Houston mis-managed the beginning of this saga; I remember feeling at the time they were playing copy-cat when we decided to trade Clark and were just a bit behind.

  6. king.

    Rob, I am more than willing to go toe to toe with you when I disagree, but I don’t speak up enough when I believe you’ve nailed it.

    Great perspective. Great piece.

  7. Volume12

    Big fan of Houston. Everytime Seattle has a blackhole on the roster JS strong arms them in what basically amounts to a home invasion.

  8. TomLPDX

    Hey Rob, thanks for writing this. I’ve been trying to understand what motivated all of this and your article helps to articulate it. Watson is an exceptional QB and he has just been getting nailed at times. He needs protection and O’brian knows that. The game we had with them 2 years ago speaks volumes about Watson’s ceiling (one of the best games that year…it was fun to watch!).

    I think you are right that Tunsil was the end-game Bill O’b was looking for and he just messed up with the whole Clowney thing. Bringing in Stills also adds a weapon for Watson.

    I’m not laughing at them but instead trying to understand their motivation. This helps…a lot! Thanks for this.

  9. Shadow

    It’s a benefit to the Texans IF they can sign Tunsil to a long-term deal. As others have pointed out, the fact that they traded so much draft capital without a long-term deal already in place for Tunsil gives him an awful lot of leverage. AGENT: “You traded two firsts and a second, and I know you don’t want my client leaving after just one year. With that in mind, I’m sure our demands are quite reasonable….”

    If Houston doesn’t pay Tunsil what he wants, they could end up back in a situation where they have to franchise him just to hang onto him. And with Deshaun Watson in line for a big payday soon, that’s not a great position for them to be in.

    If they can sign Tunsil to an extension, great. They got what they needed. If not…?

    • Rob Staton

      Well the highest paid offensive lineman in the league right now is Trenton Brown on $16.5m a year.

      I don’t think it’ll be that hard to simply top that and make him the highest paid left tackle. The left tackle market is relatively meek compared to some other positions so I can’t imagine an extension will be much of an obstacle.

  10. Greg Haugsven

    Its interesting you bring this up because me and a friend of mine just had this conversation this afternoon. I actually like what they did as well. You see this now days when you have a QB on a rookie deal. KC just did it as well 5 months. Teams are selling the future a little to go for it right now. I have no problem with it.

    • Rob Staton

      Generally fans and media react to traded picks in a big way. Picks are overvalued.

      The Texans have a desperate need at LT. So they could try and get through 2019 and risk injury to Deshaun Watson. Last year they won 11 games so if they repeat that or get close, they won’t be in range to draft a top left tackle and would have to trade up. It’d probably cost their 2020 and 2021 picks anyway. And that’s to move up and get an untested rookie.

      Instead they’ve cut to the chase and made a deal now for Laremy Tunsil — a young, proven left tackle — for the same draft compensation. Now they can protect Watson in 2019 and beyond and they’re not mortgaging their future on an unknown.

      It’s a fair move. Doesn’t mean it’ll work out. But it’s fair.

  11. Isaac

    One player I’m interested in seeing develop is Jachai polite. Now that he’s on our practice squad. Hopefully we can bring out the guy many people talked about being a first round pick.

    • Rob Staton

      I wouldn’t get your hopes up though.

      His addition to the practise squad amounts to little more than a tryout at this stage. The Seahawks are gathering information. By next week he might be gone. The Seahawks mix up their PS all the time.

      This is a guy with talent. But he’s gone from star in the SEC to terrible combine, out of shape, falls from top-15 to round three, then he’s cut after little more than a few months despite NY spending a third round pick on him — and not one single team claimed him on waivers or subsequently added him to their 53 man roster as a free agent.

      Clearly there are big issues here. I really hope he can work them out and if that’s in Seattle — great.

      But based on his 2019 so far he won’t last long. Good for Seattle to take a look but he needs to earn the right to stay on the practise squad. This could be a short term thing.

      • Saxon

        Exactly, Rob. Don’t get the excitement for this guy. Average athlete with bad character. I’m wary of bringing those kind of guys into the locker room lest they infect others. I’ll be shocked if he sticks around.

      • Dale Roberts

        Polite obviously has a personality issue whether it be a bipolar disorder or depression. I wonder if the Hawks feel like they can get him help and retrieve a lost talent.

  12. Frank

    Thanks Rob! I was thinking the same thing about the Texans being reminiscent of our situation with Earl Thomas, and how they managed to get something instead of nothing. Martin pressure percentages where elite in limited snaps as well, but his inability to seal the edge or defend the pass made him a poor fit for the Hawks. Clowney will rush the passer, and be extremely stout against the run something we haven’t had since Bennett and I think has been a highlighted need since Bruce Irvin got destroyed by the Falcons with poor run defense. The addition of Polite is intriguing as a like part for like part replacement of Martin.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t actually see Polite and Martin as similar. Polite as his best for Florida was on a different level. Then he gained a load of weight, looked awful at the combine and seemingly hasn’t recovered. He might need a year to get in shape. We’ll see if he earns the right to stick around. I’m not getting my hopes up he’ll last beyond the end of the week to be honest. Not after his 2019 so far.

      • charlietheunicorn

        This was a run down of the weakness of Polite heading into the draft:

        Not a great run defender
        Can get pushed back out his gap
        Significant maturity issues
        Accountability issues
        Concerns about his football I.Q.
        Work-ethic issues
        Could have suspension issues in the NFL
        Quit on 2017 staff and recruited teammates to do the same
        Could use more weight and strength to take on NFL offensive tackles

        I tend to agree, his days in Seattle are likely to be short. Caveat, he is viewed as an edge rusher in passing downs, so if you can harness him for a “nascar” package, then sky is the limit. PC will have his hands full with this kid.

        • regan

          Pretty harsh list. I think going to the Jets and NYC was the worst place this troubled young man could go. I think this will be a wake up call for the kid and if any couch in the NFL can motivate him it’s Pete. I think he turns it around and becomes a Hawk. I’m rooting for him!

      • Elmer

        That reminds me of 2010. Pete brought in LenDale White during the preseason. He lasted about a week.

        • Bigten

          Lendale was not a rookie at the time. He had a good amount of tread on the tires.

          • Elmer

            You’re right. He may have been out of shape too.

            Just saw that Calitro has been cut. Don’t know why. I doubt if he makes it through waivers to be re-signed or put on the PS.

  13. charlietheunicorn

    I think Seattle made out like bandits.
    I can see what the Dolphins are doing, reloading in 2020/2021. And lets face it, they have been borderline sucky ever since Marino retired. They gave the keys to Flores and he is ready to lead them in a new direction. They netted cap space and multiple high end draft picks. Now it is up to the front office to make quality picks and the guys to pan out.

    I can see sort of what the Texans were doing, but this seems by far the riskiest / highest leverage situation of the three. If everything goes perfectly, then they are making the playoffs…. but if the players acquired do not pan out and play at at least average to pro-bowl level (Tunsil), then you have flushed your franchise down the toilet with a quality QB on a cheap deal in tow. Even with all the wheeling and dealing, I do not see the Texans as a SB bound team. The hot seat is squarely under O’Brien’s ass now.

  14. Kenny Sloth

    Russ dancing as his sounders best LA is me rn

  15. cha

    “Clearly the Texans handled this poorly at the beginning of the off-season. Extending Clowney should’ve been a priority. If it wasn’t, they should’ve dealt him months ago.”


    Can I just say this…I really have to appreciate the Seahawks on a different level. Paul Allen died, and the succession plan has been extremely smooth. PC and JS are still as much on the same page as ever and making good decisions together.

    Bob McNair died, and it *appears* that their administration in the 9 months since then was a mess. Lots of reports that Gaines and O’Brien were never on the same page about many key issues (Clowney being a big example…reportedly Gaines wanted to extend, O’Brien didn’t, O’Brien won that battle).

    Firing your GM about 5-6 weeks after the draft is a body blow to your organization. It signals bad organizational cohesion, poor planning and very little forethought.

    So while I totally agree Rob the Clowney situation is not dissimilar to the ET situation, HOW the two orgs arrived at their situations are very different. PC, JS, and ownership had a clear vision of what ET’s value is, stuck to it and played things out and got a more diminishing return than hoped.

    Meanwhile Houston apparently couldn’t get on the same page organizationally about one of their best players, and the “price” they paid was a hugely diminished return, a lot of which was of their own making.

    So I’m not laughing at the Texans so much as finding new ways to appreciate the organization I root for.

    Thinking this is finally karmic realignment for the Jeremy Lane debacle…yes that I will laugh Houston for.

    • cha

      * footnote: yes Paul Allen was still alive when they decided on ET…I’m just saying there hasn’t been so much as a blip in the continuity of the team while Houston would appear to be trying to recreate the “gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” scene in Dr Strangelove. And for that I’m grateful.

    • Sea Mode

      Well said!

      In the end, I care less about what is going down in Houston and am just excited about what we’ve got brewing in Seattle.

      And +1 for Lane payback… 🙂 (though tbf, his hands really were in pretty rough shape)

  16. Gohawk5151

    I never laughed at the Texans as much as I didn’t care about them. It’s a positive that they got something in a situation that clearly went South on them. However I don’t envy them. They can protect a young talented QB with a talented Left Tackle. But the tent poles of their offense and defense are aging as their QB chugs towards big money. O’Brien seems to always be on the hot seat. They have a lot to figure out building around Watson. But that is their problem and I will continue to celebrate getting Clowney for OUR team. 😀

  17. RWIII

    I know it’s a long shot. But if somehow Pete Carroll/Ken Norton and company can put Jachai Polite on the straight and narrow path, he would be a huge steal.
    Polite’s final year at Florida he had 19 TFLs, 11 sacks. He was very productive his senior year. Unlike Malik McDowell (John Schneider used a high 2nd round pick on McDowell) Polite was signed off the street.

  18. charlietheunicorn

    With all the celebration and craziness of the last 48 hours…

    Every draft pick is still on the 53 man roster AND / OR PUP list.
    None were cut, that is simply remarkable.

  19. JJ

    What other move does JS have planned?

    • SteveNelsen

      Resign Geno Smith – check!
      Resign Jaron Brown – check!
      Resign Jazz Ferguson to PS – check!

      Sign a #3 QB to practice squad – McGough?

      • Rob Staton

        McGough has already signed for someone else’s practise squad.

  20. Matt

    From the Texan’s viewpoint I think the issue isn’t so much the deal they made yesterday, but all the decisions they made (or didn’t make) over the last six months that led to them being forced to make the trade with the Seahawks. And it looks a whole lot worse after they bungled the whole GM situation and decided to go with the committee approach.

  21. Denver Hawker

    I think the recipe for sustained success in the NFL starts with 1) ownership/FO, 2) head coach, 3) quarterback. Patriots are the star example, Steelers, Saints to lesser degree. Seahawks are right up there now. You can point to other teams with turnover in those rolls and track the associated rise and fall.

    • Gerry Griesel

      I think you are undervaluing Seattle by saying “now” in that statement. They have been an upper level organization for 20 years, since Holmgren came aboard. The Holmgren years were pretty good, especially considering the QB situation was above average at best.

      • Madmark

        Don’t forget about the Knox era where we was in AFC west division.Seattle, Denver, San Diego, Oakland, and Kansas City was putting 3 teams in the playoffs each year in the 80’s.

      • Denver Hawker

        As a Seahawk fan since the late 80’s, I too enjoyed the Holmgren years running behind a premier o-Line. Looking back though, they really only had one good season among a whole lot of 7-9, 9-7 campaigns and never won a Super Bowl (darn zebras). It felt like they should have been better. There were some bad seasons after Holmgren which plays exactly to my point about importance of continuity (Texans have had none). They hit the jackpot with PCJS and won the lottery with Wilson and will be a good team as long as that combo stays together.

  22. A, Chris

    Much appreciate the take, Rob. Perspective is everything and I actually applaud them for getting it done before things got brutally toxic. Sometimes you know you lost and you just got to own it and get out as painless as possible. This “heist” will look a lot better for the Texans after (I suspect) the Jerry v Zeke situation unfolds.

    Cheers to some Seahawks Football

  23. Pickering

    Look at how successful the Houston Astros have been since their rebuild. Rebuilds can work. Look at the Seattle Seahawks. Knock wood the Mariners, too.

    • Volume12

      The most impressive thing about the Hawks rebuild or reload is how quickly and casually they’ve done it.

  24. RWIII

    I have been reading the tweets on the trade for Jadeveon Clowney. Man! Bill O’Brien is getting killed for this trade.

    What do these people expect. Clowney was NOT going to play for Houston this year.

    • charlietheunicorn

      He shouldn’t be killed for the actual trade, just everything leading up to it.
      AS rob and others pointed out, they had multiple off ramps along the way they could have traded him for top dollar talent and draft picks. Instead they held the bad hand too long and lost.

      as the old song goes
      “Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away… know when to run!”

  25. Matt

    Rob. I’ve followed you since the beginning and i think this is the best article you’ve ever written, by far. Intelligent, cogent, and on point. It should be the national narrative. What most appeals to me is the nuance of your piece. Well done

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks Matt

  26. Sea Mode

    As talented as our roster is right now, and as healthy as our cap situation is, it’s pretty astounding that we are also the 4th-youngest roster in the league after initial cut-downs.


    If Ed Dickson goes on IR and is replaced by Hollister, the average might drop even further.

    Gotta say, Jon Ryan was probably holding the number up a bit in past years… 😜

  27. Gaux Hawks

    Quick question:

    Do we get our 7th round (conditional) pick back from NE for Hollister after cutting him?

    I know he’s on our PS, but I imagine that being cut would nullify the contract…

    Any ideas? Thanks!

    • SebA

      From the reports I’ve seen (Brady Henderson etc) it was not a conditional 7th round pick in the first place, so it’s already gone!

  28. EranUngar

    As a Seahawks fan I have close to zero interest in how horribly an AFC team managed it’s affairs. All I see is JS got a top caliber player at our greatest position of need for a 3rd round pick, Jacob Martin and a cap hit of 4M. (Mingo was a non factor here and between his cap and the Texans paying half of JC’s tag that’s what we actually pay for this deal)

    I can understand that teams could get themselves into a hole and getting out can be ugly but necessary. However, I find it hard to just look at how they crawled out of said hole bruised and bloodied and ignore how they got themselves into it in the first place.

    As for the ET comparison, I have 3 points to mention:

    1. ET was not under the franchise tag. He was just another player on the last year of his contract. He had no leverage and could be traded at any moment to any team the Seahawks wanted. They did not face a player refusing to sign his tag and holding most of the cards. BIG DIFFERENCE.

    2. ET was no holding out and was playing under the last year of his contract and playing well at that. He could have been traded later during the year to a contender needing that last chip or to a team losing their safety to injury etc. Talks about possible trade lingered until the last minute before his injury. What killed the whole ET affair was him getting seriously injured and putting a cap on those trade efforts.

    3. I and almost everybody here still believe the Seahawks really mishandled the whole ET affair and deserve a lot criticism over it. If that still holds than the Texans has earned twice as much regarding the Clowney affair.

    P.S. – just saw the early prediction by tens of analysts on NFL.com. Seems that the Clowney trade did very little to prompt optimism regarding the Seahawks chances to win the NFC west or even make the playoffs. I think they are in for a rude awakening.

    • Rob Staton

      1. If you’re not picking in the top-15 it’s very difficult to draft a quality left tackle. Duane Brown left Houston. Recently experienced vets like Bennett, Sherman and Earl have left Seattle. It happens. They weren’t bruised and bloodied. They addressed a big need proactively.

      2. Earl Thomas did hold out. He returned right at the last minute. Seattle held out for their value and didn’t get anything but a possible comp pick. They were offered a R3 by Dallas. Everything said in the article was accurate on ET (and relevant).

      3. I don’t know why the Texans deserve more criticism. They, like Seattle, had an expensive veteran they didn’t want to extend. They, unlike Seattle, made a trade and moved on. Guaranteeing they were compensated and eliminating a distraction. Thomas was telling the media he’ll ‘practise when he feels like it’ when the season started.

      4. I’m certain those predictions were made prior to the Clowney deal. Usually those pieces are collected days before publication.

  29. Trevor

    Thanks Rob for offering this perspective. I tend to agree. I am glad the Hawks were able to take care of the opportunity by creating a culture and environment players like Duane Brown and Clowney want to come play in and having the cap space to make it happen.

    I think JS has had the best off season by a GM since the Howie Rosen off season the year they won the SB with Eagles. It seems like not to long ago when fans were rumbling and questioning if PC/ JS were still the answer in Seattle.

    There are no guarantees in the NFL with injury etc but this roster looks primed to take the next step and complete for the NFC West and an SB. What I love most is that PC/ JS have built a inexpensive young home grown roster with elite high paid talent at key positions (QB, Edge Rusher, LT, WR) it really is the blue print for success in todays NFL I think.

    Really excited for this year!

  30. kevin mullen

    We definitely had our own “Texans” moments regarding Sherman, Bennett, Thomas, Richardson, where we couldn’t capitalize on their trade values, probably far more than Houston in recent offseasons. We really have no room to laugh.

    So, now if there’s a way to pry Ramsey away from JAX…

    • Hawktalker#1


  31. FreedomRide

    What’s been completely forgotten in all the hoorah about Clowney’s coming to Seattle is his injury history.

    He’s been pretty solid the last two seasons, but it should be remembered that he’s missed 18 full games and parts of others in five regular seasons. He’s also playing on a micro fracture surgery in one knee, a condition known to deteriorate with heavy use. I don’t know if this was the main reason Houston didn’t want to extend him, but given his excellent performance last season, it at least seems like a plausible notion: they didn’t trust that knee going forward. And, after all, who would know more about it?

    • Rob Staton

      He missed most of his games in the first season. He’s been very healthy in the last three seasons.

  32. GerryG

    Peter King made a pretty valid point that their biggest screw up was not securing an extension as part of the trade like the Bears did for Mack. He agrees with Rob that it wasn’t an overpay for Tunsil. I think that is a fair criticism.

    He also still put SF in the playoffs over Seattle despite the Clowney acquisition.

    NFC West could be a really tight battle this season!

    • Hawktalker#1

      Niners are being seriously over-hyped. Gimme a break with all these projections and placements over the Hawks. The projections And nothing short of bollocks. 😉


        Seriously. What do they do well? Are they a top passing offense? A top rushing offense? Do they have a great defense? They have some nice pieces on the DL, and an innovative HC… I don’t get it.

  33. DC

    Any takeaways or observations from week 1 of college football?

    • Rob Staton

      Article already part written. Just waiting to watch one more game.

    • charlietheunicorn

      #1 Takeaway : Oregon = Debacle; Poor time management imo.
      #2 Takeaway : Oregon QBN was very accurate, but had a lackluster 2nd half vs Auburn.
      I’m not sure how the kid can be seen as a the #1 pick of the draft right now…..
      #3 Takeaway : UWs Eason looked pretty good, but need to see more against DIV1 big boys
      #4 Takeaway : USC = Debacle; How the hell does USC keep losing games??????

      • Henry Taylor

        On #2, he’s the prototype, big, massive arm, good athlete, makes him the easiest projection at the next level.

        I thought he looked very good against Auburn, made some big time ‘wow’ plays.

  34. BobbyK

    The ET comparison is valid. The folks praising Schneider for this (deservedly so!) forget it was he who essentially got nothing but a bad attitude for a generational talent at free safety last year. Win some – lose some. A second round pick last year is a lot better than a end of the third round pick next year. But, hey, the future looks bright either way. This Clowney trade doesn’t make them a frontrunner, but it does put them in the NFL hat in terms of being a viable contender to be playing for all the marbles in the NFC Championship Game in January. Hope is a wonderful thing to have.

    • GerryG

      I don’t think they ever got a second rd offer, I think they would have taken that.

      • BobbyK

        The Cowboys offered a 3rd rounder during the draft. After the draft, they offered a 2nd round pick the following year (which would have been this past draft).

  35. BobbyK

    The Cowboys offered a 3rd rounder during the draft. After the draft, they offered a 2nd round pick the following year (which would have been this past draft).

    • BobbyK

      Wrong spot. Sorry.

  36. Kenny Sloth

    Mmmm imagine Grant Delpit and Marquise Blair in our secondary..

    But he’s probably going top 15.

    Gonna cost too much to move up from 32

    • charlietheunicorn

      They have some draft capitol this year, so anything is possible.

      Need a bit of help at CB and perhaps S….. so a trade-up is possible!

    • Trevor

      Blair and Delpit would be a Dream scenario at Safety! Agree though he is likely a top 7-8 kind of guy so not sure how hey can get him but one can dream.

      I think the Hawks two biggest needs this draft are Pass Rush and CB but if Delpit can be had I run to the podium and figure out everything else after.

      • Rob Staton

        I think Delpit could easily go top-five.

  37. Aaron

    ESPN FPI Projection has Seahawks 6-10 and the 49ers winning the NFC West at 10-6…are you kidding me?!?!?…


    • Andrew Taylor

      .. and winning 2 of its final three games to get to that mark. If that is what the national pundits believe they will be shocked. Pete Carroll likes this team for a reason. I think they challenge for the division and are better than last years wild card team.

    • cha

      Love it. I love flying under the radar. Who gives a rip about preseason predictions?

    • Hawktalker#1

      I think this top end analytical group projected us to be 2-14 last year so in fact their projection for this year is a very good sign!!!

    • Coleslaw

      I really believe that we can get a first round bye this year.

      We’ll be competing with the Rams for the division (I like our odds) and beyond that we’ll be competing with teams like the Saints, Bears, Falcons, Packers.

      Really I think it’ll be a race between 4 teams for 2 first round byes. Seattle, LAR, NO, and Chicago.

      If the playoffs run through Seattle, or even just until the NFCCG, that will be HUGE.

  38. Greg Haugsven

    Another thing to bring up again is how bad our run defense was last year at giving up 4.9 yards per carry. Having Wright back will certainly help but having Clowney here will for sure help. The league leaders last year with 3.4 yards per carry were the Houston Texans.

    • Hawktalker#1

      That was already a good post, but that last tidbit about Houston was the icing on top!!!

    • Coleslaw

      Yup! Wright and Clowney are 2 of the best run defenders in the NFL. We’re basically “adding” them both this year.

      Reed out for 6 games will likely offset the season long stats, though.

      The only people I’m concerned about vs the run in our front 7 are BBK, Shaquem, Barton, and Green. I’m confident that everyone else can be a legit asset vs. the run.

      • MyChestisBeastMode

        Barton looks strong to me. He’ll have a learning curve of course, but in terms of physicality and ability, I’d feel relatively comfortable with him out there should he be required to play in the front 7 with any regularity.

  39. Bigten

    Looks like jaron brown resigned, and Dickson to the IR

    • Hawktalker#1

      Gotta tell ya, I’m thrilled to hear this news!!!

      I have a feeling in my bones about this year!!!!

      Go Hawks.

      • Greg Haugsven

        Kind of felt this was coming. Wonder what they resigned him for? Didnt make much sense when they released him, looks like it was just to save some money.

        • Greg Haugsven

          They now have 7 receivers on the roster and only two tight ends now.

    • WALL UP

      Griffin will probably be next, and Hollister up from PS, leaving 4 RBs, 7 WRs, & 3 TEs, 25 OF & 25 DE.

      • Bigten

        Close. Calitro was cut and hollister brought up. Not sure what is happening with Griffen, I feel if they were intending on putting him on IR, they would have done it with Dickson.

        • WALL UP

          I don’t think they’re done yet…

          • Rob Staton

            I think they’re pretty much done. They are nearly constantly churning the roster and practise squad so that will continue. The only remaining move I can imagine is a Joey Hunt or Shaquem Griffin going on IR and an addition being made. But nothing major.

            • WALL UP

              Or, Moore going to IR.. 2 TEs & & 7 WRs is not their norm.

              • Rob Staton

                Moore isn’t going to IR. Carroll only said last week he won’t be out long. He doesn’t need surgery. There’d have to be a major setback in his recovery. They’re keeping seven WR’s to stash the young guys. And as noted a week or two ago they might carry extra WR’s because practically every year they’ve had room for a redshirt player. It just so happens it’s likely that redshirt will be a WR in 2019.

                • WALL UP

                  There is (1) WR that may not be on the roster before game #1. You think it is not Jennings, then Turner may be the odd man out?

                  Turner has done well this offseason, and could be a factor. Perhaps he could make it to the PS, but I think he’ll get picked up.

                  • Rob Staton

                    No, I don’t think they have to do anything.

                    As I said, they’ve perennially had at least one player on a ‘redshirt’ year stashed on the roster. It seems that this year that’ll be one of the young receivers. They’re not ready to give up on Jennings. Ursua has impressed. They like Turner. There’s always room to keep an extra guy you like and don’t want to lose. They manage the roster well in that regard and protect who they want to protect.

                • WALL UP

                  (2) TEs is not their norm though. I thought the redshirt is the 6th WR, since he’ll always be in active?

                  • Rob Staton

                    Fant also plays TE

                  • WALL UP

                    I guess the good thing about carrying (2) TEs is that the only time that has happened in the JS/PC era, they won the Super Bowl. I’m all in for that!

                    • Rob Staton

                      Again though, they use Fant as a TE. So really they have three.

                  • WALL UP

                    I was mistaken. It was the year after they won the SB.

                  • WALL UP

                    TEs do play HB, but they are listed as TE. But, I do understand your point. That role of a TE playing HB at times is what Hollister and Dissly would do well at.

                    I guess they decided to stick with Bellore instead, even though it was not utilized well in the preseason. We’ll see what happens.

                  • WALL UP

                    I guess I was right about something, it was the SB.

  40. Paul Cook

    In the end Houston just got caught. Sometimes you have to sell the bottom to just get out and start over. It’s never pretty when it happens.

    • Hawktalker#1

      Yeah, we can’t throw stones. Been there, done that. Lessons learned.

  41. Ukhawk

    Phenomenal analysis Rob

  42. Sea Mode

    Quotes from JS and tidbits about the behind the scenes in MMQB:

    Of course, that wasn’t the only blockbuster move the Texans were a part of over the weekend. The first one involved the first draft pick of the O’Brien era, and the first pick in the 2014 draft, being shipped off to Seattle. And it wrapped up pretty unceremoniously.

    Sure, Seahawks GM John Schneider might’ve liked to celebrate landing Clowney. But by the time he and O’Brien got off the phone late on Friday night with an agreement in principle, just in time to get the 26-year-old on an early Saturday flight to Seattle, there was way too much going on for that, with the cutdown deadline just hours away.

    Thirty-six hours later, he’d had more time to take it in. And he could best explain the move by describing what he felt like the Seahawks were getting in Clowney.

    “He can do whatever he wants to do when he wants to do it,” Schneider says. “That’s what sticks out—he can do whatever he wants to do whenever he wants to do it. He’s a freak athletically.”

    Given Seattle’s attrition up front over the last few years (Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, etc.), plus the six-game suspension Jarran Reed is about to serve, finding pressure players up front was an obvious need for the Seahawks. But they weren’t going to panic to fill it, which made getting to the finish line on Clowney a process.

    The Texans and Seahawks first discussed a trade before the draft, but Schneider says the team was jammed up logistically at that point doing massive extensions for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, and the price tag to trade for Clowney was a little higher than they’d have liked. So they let the draft pass—and in the meantime, they did their homework on Clowney. Because he was such a high pick in a year Seattle had the last pick in each round, the team hadn’t done much of that ahead of this spring—“Probably like everybody else, I knew he was supposed to be a freak, and he had the huge hit against Michigan [in the 2013 Outback Bowl],” Schneider says.

    The staff called around 20 former teammates and coaches of his. But the most powerful testimonial came from right down the hall—Brown had been a teammate of Clowney’s for more than three years in Houston.

    “He couldn’t have spoken about him more highly than he did,” Schneider says. “He loved the guy.”

    What moved the GM to get more aggressive was seeing on the internet that Clowney was resisting the idea of a trade to Miami. Schneider thought all along that the Seahawks’ culture would be a fit for Clowney, and that Carroll would get the most out of him (“Pete loves working with guys like this.”) That belief also helped ease the issue of, by rule, not being able to extend Clowney, with the hope he’d want to stay once he got there.

    So Schenider moved on him and, ultimately, what’s going back to Houston isn’t anywhere close to crazy. The Seahawks sent a third-rounder there, which they’ll likely get back in a comp pick if they lose Clowney in 2020, plus role players Barkevious Mingo (who Clowney replaces) and Jacob Martin (who impressive rookie Cody Barton will replace).

    If Carroll can get the most out of this prodigious talent, who has been through microfracture surgery as a pro, the move will fit in with the Seahawks have built their best teams over the course of this decade—focusing on getting to the quarterback.

    “You never feel like you have enough pass rushers,” Schneider says. “And that’s not necessarily a reflection of the people you have here. It’s just, we’re constantly looking at all positions, but especially how you improve your pass rush, for sure.”

    And to be able to pull that off on the doorstep of September? Schneider can celebrate that, because it’s not easy to do.


  43. RWIII

    In regards to Seattle cutting both Geno Smith and Jaron Brown. And then resigning both players. On the surface this doesn’t make sense. I am sure this was a financial arraignment to save cap dollars.

    • Sea Mode

      Though I am interested to see what Jaron Brown’s new contract looks like (we still take on $975K in dead money for having cut him), I think it was more of a roster spot maneuver than a cap space operation.

      What doesn’t make sense is the farewell Seattle he tweeted out. Either this is some next level mind games by JS with the rest of the league or they really weren’t planning on bringing him back and changed their minds once they got Houston to pay half of Clowney’s tag.

    • cha

      It makes perfect sense to me. They needed roster spots, not so much cap dollar savings.

      They wanted to IR Dickson but be able to return him, which meant putting him on the 53. And it took past the the deadline to get the Clowney trade finalized which was a 2 for 1 player swap. So they needed to cut 2 players they felt they could get right back.

      I’m going to guess they picked two guys they felt wouldn’t bolt the minute after getting cut and told them what the plan was and that as soon as they could IR Dickson and officially get Mingo and Martin off the roster, they’d be back. And they liked Seattle so much they’d just sit tight for a day or two.

      • DCD2

        They are also both vested vets, so they aren’t subject to the waiver process like a rookie would be. Cha is right, in that they just have to tell them to sit tight while they get the trade done and the IR situated.

  44. MyChestIsBeastMode

    This reminds me of the Mariners and their trade of Griffey Jr circa 2000. He dictated the destination and the M’s reward was far less than Griffey would have garnered had the M’s had any leverage. Houston got what they could get, I agree, and still Houston got absolutely clobbered on this trade.

    If these guys can stay healthy, oooeee, we are going to have a good year. Go Hawks!

    • Kemoarps

      Yeah this has crossed my mind, too.
      I liked Mike Cameron and felt he never really got out of Griffey’s shadow (understandably), so hopefully Martin can at least find some success even if he doesn’t get the credit for it he may deserve, like Cameron.

  45. Volume12

    The left side of that Oregon O-line is special.

    LG Shane Lemeiux remains one of my favorite prospects this summer because of his ability to do things like below.

    LT Penei Sewell is a freak!


  46. Sea Mode

    Whoa, we just cut Calitro…

    Tom Pelissero

    A surprise: The #Seahawks cut LB Austin Calitro, source said. He played in all 16 games last season with five starts at multiple positions, recording 45 tackles. Core special teamer too.

    9:41 PM · Sep 2, 2019

    • WALL UP

      Maybe he makes it to the PS, and Hollister is back, instead of Griffin..

      • WALL UP

        Griffin could play behind Kendricks, on occasions blitzing. BBK behind KJ as well.

        • McZ

          I hereby bet, that BBK will have the starting job, before season ends.

    • Bigten

      Rumor is that we were trying to trade him, and that was the reason he made the roster. Maybe he was insurance should Mingo or Martin not meet the physicals? Or maybe we were trying to move him somewhere else. Interesting regardless. Who do we add to ps now? Maybe turner gets cut and moved to PS? 7 WR seems a bit much for a run first team.

      • Sea Mode

        Looks like just Bellore being brought back. Same roster dosey doe as with the other vets…

        Bob Condotta

        Putting two and two together, what appears to have happened is Seahawks kept Calitro on active roster initially to try to trade him, releasing Bellore because he was a vested vet and didn’t have to clear waivers. Finding no market, they then waived him to bring back Bellore.

        10:55 PM · Sep 2, 2019

        • TomLPDX

          I would have expected them to bring the vets back after week 1 was in the books, that way they only pay them per game instead of the full salary.

      • WALL UP

        Moore to IR?

        • TomLPDX

          I don’t think Moore’s injury will keep him out for more than a few weeks since it is only a hairline crack and not a break. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in game 3 but I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV.

    • TomLPDX

      Why would we do this? He is a solid backup LB. Wonder what is going on?

      • Sea Mode

        My guess: Cody Barton and BBK showed more upside and made him expendable. He’ll latch on somewhere, no doubt.

        • TomLPDX

          Seems reasonable, especially after the game BBK had against the Raiders. I saw your post of Condotta’s tweet above also. For the life of me I just don’t get the whole Bellore thing…that’s why I’m only a fan and not the GM.

          • WALL UP

            You’re not alone.

  47. WALL UP

    It is interesting what Clowney has done during this past offseason. His tweet, “Lets Go!,” may just have merit.

    Clowney participated in retired nine-time Pro Bowl selection Julius Peppers’ inaugural pass rushing camp this week in Miami.

    At the camp, Clowney interacted with Peppers, who has 159½ career sacks, elite pass-rushing specialist coach Chuck Smith, a retired former Falcons standout who had 58½ career sacks, retired Colts Pro Bowl pass rusher Robert Mathis, who has 123 career sacks and Under Armour All-American defensive line coach Nathan O’Neal. Fellow NFL players Gerald McCoy, Bruce Hector and Da’Shawn Hand also attended the camp.

    Clowney, entering his sixth season after being the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, left a strong impression on the coaches.

    “I thought JD was a humble guy who is really open to learning new stuff,” said Smith, who has known Clowney for several years. “He really wants to be great and improve his pass-rush technique. He’s a really good person and he deserves the success because he’s putting in the work. I think he’s going to have a good year. He has added some signature pass rushing moves.”

    • McZ

      The search for LT strength was at the center of all offseason actions @Houston.

      They went to the draft, and got toppled by the Eagles taking Andre Dillard. They then overdrafted with the next pick, despite Jawaan Taylor still being available. They then picked another overdrafted OT late R2.

      With that haul, they went into full panic mode, kicked their GM. Now, they traded their future for an average LT from the NFLs worst OL. Which will do nothing to protect Watson, who was analyzed to provoke most pressures and sacks by himself. IMO, this deal at this cost is even worse than the Clowney-mess-up.

      Clowney was an afterthought much of the offseason; he was expected to sign his tag. He didn’t.

      The Texans made a major mistake provoking Clowney by tagging him as a LB, to save $1.5m. This step almost assured, that he would never consider playing for Houston again.

      The trade speaks pretty much for himself. Even if we compare it to ET3, who would’ve played for the Seahawks,if the Seahawks would’ve payed him top dollar.

      The question is, why oh why? the Texans think, they have a team in win-now mode. The gaping wholes are too many for this. This is Seahawks 2017 all over again.

      • McZ

        Aw, heck.. wrong thread.

  48. Coleslaw

    Pumped for this year! There are a few key games I wanna highlight. If we win 4/6 of these, our chances at a first round bye and home field advantage sky rockets.

    Week 3 vs. Saints
    Week 5 vs. Rams (TNF)
    Week 8 @ Falcons
    Week 12 @ Eagles (SNF)
    Week 13 vs. Vikings (MNF)
    Week 14 @ Rams (SNF)

    These aren’t all of our toughest games, but are likely to be tiebreakers.

    • Greg Haugsven

      Week 5 is such a monster game. We need to win that one at having a chance to win the division.

      • cha

        Got my tickets. Gonna get loud !!

  49. WALL UP

    Initial roster breakdown by position for Seahawks for 2010 through 2018 seasons
    Position 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
    QB 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
    RB 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 4 5
    FB 2 1 1 1 1 2 0 1 1
    WR 5 6 6 5 7 6 5 6 5
    TE 4 3 3 2 3 3 4 3 3
    OL 10 10 9 10 9 9 9 10 9
    Total Off 26 26 25 24 25 25 24 26 25
    DT 4 5 5 5 6 5 4 3 5
    DE 5 4 4 5 5 4 4 5 5
    LB 5 6 6 7 5 6 6 6 6
    CB 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
    S 5 4 5 4 4 5 7 5 4
    Total Def 24 24 25 26 25 25 26 24 25

    • WALL UP

      I didn’t come over right. Please disregard.

  50. Dale Roberts

    Rob, from the response to this article I think you can tell people are eager for your take on the NFL. It’s always so much deeper and more nuanced than the standard regurgitation of what we already know.

    On to 2020 draft needs, we might resign Clowney but we could very reasonably be without Clowney or Ansah in 2020. I think it’s clear that a pass rusher is our number one need again next year.

    With the addition of this year’s rookie class we seem to have covered the nickel position and one of the safety spots. The second draft priority is a “Derwin James” or a “Denzel Ward”. I believe Shaquill Griffin with the 90th pick is the earliest CB pick in the Pete Carroll era. Do you think they would make a first round commitment on a CB for the right talent? Does it depend on Griffin’s performance in 2019? Would an impact free safety or a top ten CB have bigger impact on the defense?

    • Rob Staton

      The feeling is, the scheme dilutes the need for star cornerbacks. And that’s one of the reasons why they haven’t drafted one higher than the end of R3. If a good enough CB was available earlier, they could take him. But he would need to be an exceptional talent. Maybe even Patrick Peterson level talent. So unless they’re picking very early, it still remains unlikely.

      I personally don’t think they need a star free safety. There are barely any in the league anyway.

  51. RWIII

    WOW! The Seahawks cut Austin Calitro. I did not see that coming. Calitro played extremely well during the preseason. The only reason to keep Shaquem Griffin and cut Calitro has to be financial.

    • Dale Roberts

      I was shocked at that one too. He’s also been a core special teams guy. It’s possible Griffin has a higher ceiling due to his 4.3 speed or maybe they are in fact capped out and couldn’t afford Giffin’s dead money and Calitro.

  52. Paul Cook

    Calitro is definitely a baller. He just got squeezed out by the play/potential of Barton and BBK. I *think* they weren’t quite ready to give up on Griffin’s speed at the position and ST’s. He has that.

    I don’t know…

  53. ivotuk

    Houston did what they could with the mess that was left by the previous GM. They had zero options with Clowney. El Hombre said that Philly didn’t want to push their cap any further, so Seattle was the only trade partner, and they had Houston over a barrel. That’s not Bill O’Brien’s fault.

    Tunsil is worth the picks. How many (high) 1st round picks have teams wasted over the years on Left Tackles that busted? A LOT! How much would it cost Houston to move up in the 2020 draft to get an LT? A LOT!

    How much is a rare franchise Quarterback worth to the Texans? Certainly much more than Two 1st round picks and One 2nd Round pick. Watson has been getting hammered the last couple of years, getting sacked 61? times in 2018!

    Houston has been down that road before. And with no OLine help, Houston had no choice but to fire their GM and pay for Tunsil. Job well done IMHO. Your QB will thank you, in the long run, your fans will thank you.

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