Houston picked up the fifth-year option on Jadeveon Clowney‘s rookie deal on Friday, NFL Network’s James Palmer reported. The pass rusher was selected first overall in the 2014 draft and was heading into the final season of a four-year deal with the Texans.
NFL teams have until May 3 to exercise the fifth-year options on 2014 first-round draft picks.
Extending Clowney through the 2018 season was a no-brainer for the Texans, who reaped the benefits of the fully healthy disrupter in 2016. (It should be noted that Clowney did undergo minor left knee surgery after the season, but is said to be “fine.”)
After slumping through two injury-marred seasons, Clowney broke out last year, starting in 14 games and recording six sacks and 55 tackles. His dominant wild-card performance against the Raiders, in which he broke up multiple plays in the backfield and recorded an interception in Oakland territory, earned him legitimate comparisons to Texans teammate and injured pass rusher J.J. Watt.
With Whitney Mercilus still at the peak of his powers, Watt returning and Clowney in town for the next two years, Houston has a defense ready for January and beyond and could contend with Denver for the best unit in the AFC.