The Texans picked up Jadeveon Clowney's fifth-year option recently, comfortably ahead of the May 2 deadline. The option will pay Clowney, the top overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, $13.846 million in 2018 and is guaranteed for injury upon exercise. This fifth year becomes fully guaranteed early next March on the first day of the 2018 league year.

Clowney has answered critics that had been suggesting the Texans drafted the wrong edge rusher in 2014 with the first overall pick. Knee problems sidelined Clowney for 15 of the 32 regular-season games in his first two years and kept him out of Houston's playoff loss during the 2015 season. Meanwhile, Khalil Mack, the fifth overall pick, experienced immediate success with the Raiders. Healthy for the first time last season, Clowney was named to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and earned some first-team All-Pro/All-NFL honors. He played a pivotal role in the Texans giving up the fewest yards in the NFL despite losing three-time Defensive Player of Year J.J. Watt to a back injury three games into the season.

Clowney's stellar play in 2016 has put him in line for a contract extension either this offseason or next year before the start of the 2018 regular season. The Texans have a long-standing policy against negotiating contracts during the regular season. There are challenges the Texans will encounter regardless of whether Clowney is taken care of contractually sooner or later.