HOUSTON – The Houston Texans placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end/linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, the team announced via a statement.
"Today, we have placed the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney, but our goal is to continue to work with his representation on a long-term contract," said Texans general manager Brian Gaine. "This gives us both an opportunity to continue to do so."
The non-exclusive tag means that Houston can match any offer sheet that Clowney is offered in free agency, or they can take two first-round picks if they don't match the offer.
Clowney, a five-year NFL veteran, was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl last season after he finished 2018 with 47 combined tackles and nine sacks.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien recenty praised Clowney at the NFL Scouting Combine, when asked to respond to people who say Clowney isn't a hard worker.
"I've had a really good experience with JD (Jadeveon Clowney). He's played good football for us. He's a good person. I've enjoyed coaching him. I have nothing but good things to say about JD."
After a spate of injuries his rookie season, Clowney has stayed heathier since and is now producing how the Texans envisioned when they selected him No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft.
He has 18.5 sacks the last two seasons after only producing 10.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons.
Teams have until July 15 to reach a long-term contract with a tagged player. If not, an extension will have to wait until after the regular season.