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As fans of the Houston Texans, we traffic in too-many-tight-ends jokes. It's impossible not to when your team hoards them as though tight ends will soon replace the dollar as currency in the United States. There's Joel Dreessen. There's James Casey. There's Anthony Hill. There's Garrett Graham. There's Michael Gaines. There's Dorin Dickerson (maybe, anyway; Dickerson is listed as a wide receiver, but not everyone is convinced).
And last but certainly not least, there's Owen Daniels--the one tight end on the roster with a proven history of success and production. Yet OD is also coming off surgery for a torn right ACL. Plus, he tore his left ACL twice--once in high school and once in college, with the collegiate injury resulting in a torn MCL to boot. And there's the little matter of Daniels playing this season on a(nother) one-year tender.
Does all this stuff add up to Owen Daniels not being in Smithiak's long-term plans? Thoughts after the jump...
I'm afraid the answer to that question may well be "yes." Not because Owen Daniels isn't a helluva football player, but because the team and OD may have very different ideas as to what a suitable contract entails. If OD wants Kellen Winslow money (e.g., more than $20,000,000.00 in guaranteed dough), the Texans simply may decide they don't want to pay, especially with potentially new and costly deals for Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson (Brandon Marshall's new contract almost mandates additional money for 'Dre), Mario Williams, and/or Bernard Pollard. Factor in the army of tight ends on the roster, and Smithiak could convince themselves that they could weather life without Owen Daniels.
Make no mistake: The Houston Texans are a markedly better football team with Owen Daniels at tight end. For all the questions about whether OD was a product of Kubes' system, the production at TE (and the offense's performance, perhaps?) took a noticeable dip once OD wasn't lining up. The question is whether that production is worth the kind of contract OD and his people think it is. Do you think it is? Spout off in the Comments below.
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