- The Washington Times - Monday, March 4, 2019

The Houston Texans are placing the non-exclusive franchise tag on edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, reports said Monday.

Clowney, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2014, missed 12 games of his rookie season due to injury and had a slow start to his career, but has since established himself as an edge threat for Houston. Of his 29 career sacks, 18.5 came over the past two seasons.

Being tagged with the non-exclusive franchise tag means that Clowney, 26, is actually still free to negotiate with other teams. But the Texans will have the right to match any offer sheet another team makes to Clowney and hold onto him for 2019.

The open market could become flooded with pass-rushing specialists when free agency opens next week — including Demarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys, Dee Ford of the Kansas City Chiefs, Ezekiel Ansah of the Detroit Lions and Dante Fowler Jr. of the Los Angeles Rams. One starting edge rusher for the Washington Redskins, Preston Smith, has an expiring contract as well.

• Adam Zielonka can be reached at azielonka@washingtontimes.com.

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