Jadeveon Clowney trade whispers grow in Texans saga

The trade rumors swirling around Jadeveon Clowney are only going to get stronger as long as the Texans’ terrific linebacker holds out of training camp.

More fuel was thrown on the fire Tuesday when John McClain, a longtime reporter for the Houston Chronicle, tweeted that he would “be surprised if Jadeveon Clowney isn’t traded.”

He furthered his point by saying the team needs an upgrade at left tackle to support the blindside of third-year quarterback Deshaun Watson, who tore his ACL early in his rookie year and then was continually pummeled in his second year.

But, of course, it’s not easy to find left tackles, as McLain pointed out.

“They need an upgrade at LT to protect Deshaun Watson. LTs don’t grow on trees,” he wrote, “so I have no idea who it would be at this time of year.”

There are obviously quite a few teams interested in Clowney, who is said to be eyeing a return to the team after the third preseason game, against the Cowboys on Aug. 24. Clowney is a three-time Pro Bowler and has the right not to report to training camp without being fined or suspended.

The 26-year-old has not signed his one-year, $15.9 million franchise tender, instead seeking a new long-term deal.

“I know he’s working hard. He’s out there working out … he’s in shape,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s doing everything he needs to do to be ready to play. But ultimately that’s up to him (when he reports). When he wants to show up, he’ll show up, and he’ll be ready to go. He’s a professional. When that happens, we’ll move forward with that. But I have no idea when he’ll be here. I can’t predict that.”