McClain on Texans’ Moves: O’Brien, Houston Want To Win Now

Texans Won AFC South Three Of Last Four Seasons

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
September 03, 2019 - 9:17 am
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien looks on before a game against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has been extremely active on his team’s trade front over the last few weeks.

Houston acquired running back Duke Johnson from the Browns and Carlos Hyde from the 49ers before making two surprising deals, trading Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks and acquiring offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills from the Dolphins. The team traded a handful of draft picks to help bolster its already dynamic offense. It’s a price O’Brien and the Texans were willing to pay.

The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain joined Amy Lawrence on Tuesday, with O’Brien’s wildly inconsistent offseason as the main subject of the conversation. Heading into the first week of the Texans’ season, McClain doesn’t have a set grade he’d give to the Texans’ head coach for his various trades.

“Base it on this season and what he's done on offense, getting a franchise left tackle, another receiver in Kenny Stills who has 21 touchdowns in the last three years and getting a backup running back in Carlos Hyde to go with Duke Johnson to replace Lamar Miller, he'd get a good grade.

“If you go with the Jadeveon Clowney trade that has weakened the defense, he'd get a bad grade. If you go for the 2020, he can do without a No. 1 pick but in 2021. Having to go into that draft without a one or a two, then he'd get an F. But players we talked to, they don’t care about the 2020 draft. They don’t care about the 2021 draft. They want to win now.”

Clowney’s trade to the Seahawks was surprising for most football fans. There seemed to be a decent chance that the 26-year-old could return to Houston, but McClain said that Clowney was never a part of the Texans’ long-term plan as negotiations continued and he was willing to sit out for however long it took to get a deal done.

“I knew he wasn't part of the long-term plan once they determined they were not going to pay him what he wanted, McClain said. “They’ve got to get Watson re-signed next offseason, JJ Watt is going to want a new contract, DeAndre Hopkins is going to want a contract, I never thought they'd pay Clowney more than Watt makes. It was a matter of when and where they traded him and what they got.”

McClain revealed that Houston has been actively trying to deal Clowney since April’s draft.

“Clowney would not sign his tender because he didn’t want to go to the Dolphins,” McClain said. “He told them Philadelphia or Seattle. They talked to ten teams going back before the draft when they first tried to trade him and get two number ones for him, which they weren't going to get in the trade because people could just sign him as the franchise player. So they came to a stalemate on the contract. We knew he was going to be gone. It was just a matter to who.” 

Click below to listen to McClain's interview in its entirety