The Houston Texans have offered a first-round pick and Pro Bowl edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney in a trade package to the Miami Dolphins in hopes of prying away left tackle Laremy Tunsil, the Miami Herald reported late Thursday.
The Dolphins, however, have asked for another high draft pick to sweeten the deal, per the report, which added that the team is not shopping Tunsil but could be bowled over by an offer for him.
Head coach Brian Flores told reporters after Thursday night’s preseason finale “there’s no trade in place” for Tunsil. He added he’s spoken with the left tackle but would keep their conversations private.
Earlier Thursday, a separate Herald report quoted a “well-placed” source saying Dolphins players “would legit revolt” if Tunsil were traded in a deal for Clowney, who reportedly fired his agent and met with Flores earlier this week.
The 26-year-old Clowney has yet to sign his franchise tender, which is worth either $15,967,000 or $17,128,000 depending on the grievance over whether he’s a defensive end or an outside linebacker, and he has skipped all of training camp. He cannot be traded until the tender is signed, giving him leverage over any potential deal. Any team acquiring Clowney could not sign him to an extension until after the 2019 season ends.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the Texans have discussed Clowney with numerous other teams, including Seattle and Philadelphia — reportedly two of Clowney’s preferred teams — as well as Washington and the New York Jets. Nothing of substance has advanced with any of these teams, according to the report.
On Wednesday, NFL Network reported that upon hearing about the Texans’ interest in trading him, Clowney is now willing to carry his holdout into the regular season.
The No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft out of South Carolina, Clowney has flashed his edge-rushing skills after being limited by injuries at the start of his pro career. He had 9.5 sacks in 2017 while starting every game, and he posted nine sacks last season while appearing in 15 games (14 starts). He has 21 quarterback hits in each of the last two years.
Clowney has 29 sacks over the past four seasons and has earned Pro Bowl nods in each of the past three years.
Drafted 13th overall out of Ole Miss in 2016, Tunsil has played in 44 of a possible 48 games with Miami, starting all of them. He has two years and roughly $14 million remaining on his contract, after the Dolphins exercised his fifth-year option this offseason.
Tunsil is the anchor of an otherwise unproven offensive line, having allowed just one sack in 15 starts last season.