Jadeveon Clowney may very well be one of the most talented players to enter the NFL in years, and the Houston Texans were sure to come to terms with him on a rookie contract as soon as possible. The team announced Clowney's rookie deal on Friday:
The Houston Texans have signed first overall draft pick OLB Jadeveon Clowney, it was announced today. Clowney is the ninth player to sign in the Texans’ 2014 10-player draft class. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle first reported the news:
Texans agree with Clowney.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) June 6, 2014
McClain also disclosed the length and financial terms of the deal:
Clowney's agent is Bus Cook, who negotiated the four year deal.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) June 6, 2014
Clowney gets $22.272 million guaranteed, including $14.518 mil signing bonus.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) June 6, 2014
Clowney was the No. 1 overall pick in May's NFL draft out of South Carolina and is viewed by many as a generational player who could join the likes of Bruce Smith, Reggie White and Deacon Jones in the annals of NFL history as an all-time great sack artist.
While Clowney obviously has a lot of work to do before he reaches that point, the fact that he has already signed a contract and avoided a lengthy holdout suggests he is ready to get to work and learn what it takes to be an NFL player.
Clowney was around the team prior to signing the contract as part of rookie training camp. He immediately made a positive impression, and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel was impressed by his demeanor, per Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com.
I think his attitude, much like all of our guys, their attitude has been great. They've come in, they've tried to be vocal in the meeting rooms, not always right, but at least they have the confidence to try to make the calls, make the adjustments and make the corrections while we're in there. He's somebody that we're excited about because he has the natural ability, but he also has the attitude to want to learn. He doesn't think he has it all figured out.
Clowney has a difficult transition to make since he will play linebacker in the Texans' defensive scheme after playing exclusively at defensive end for the Gamecocks. Getting signed in a timely fashion ensures that he will have the opportunity to learn as much as possible leading up to the 2014 season.
Even though linebacker is still a fairly foreign position to Clowney, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah has tabbed him as the early favorite to take Defensive Rookie of the Year honors:
My WAY too early pick for def rookie of the year: Jadeveon Clowney. I think he'll notch 12+ sacks. Ryan Shazier would be my 2nd choice.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) May 31, 2014
Clowney's signing continued the trend of first-round picks reaching agreements quickly, as more than half of this year's first rounders have already signed, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan:
18 first rounders now under contract. RT @McClain_on_NFL: Texans agree with Clowney.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) June 6, 2014
Are you surprised that Clowney has already signed?
Clowney is certainly the biggest name among them, and his signing promises to act as a domino effect. Now that the precedent has been set for this year's class by the top pick, some of the better draftees who have yet to sign should begin to fall in line.
It is tough to say how seamless Clowney's transition to the NFL will be, but his rookie contract seems like a fair one. If he comes anywhere close to reaching his potential, he likely won't see the end of that deal, as an extension will be in order.
Now that Clowney has his finances squared away, he can solely focus on football and living up to his lofty status as the No. 1 draft selection.
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