If safety Glover Quin is the first free agent priority for your Houston Texans and outside linebacker Connor Barwin is the second, then the third is, arguably, fullback/H-Back/tight end/special teamer/hero of the Rice Owls football program/man with a sweet theme song James Casey.
Upfront, I will admit that I am biased. I am a huge believer that Casey can be used to create mismatches since he lines up as a fullback. With motion and play design, you can really get Casey open in the flats or down the sidelines on slower linebackers. While Casey has increased his production over the past two seasons, I still believe he could be utilized a bit more. As an offensive X-factor who participates in 54% of the snaps, Casey earns his keep and should be retained.
The market is incredibly tame for fullbacks. Only four have an average salary of over $1 million, while the fifth-highest paid sits below $650,000 per year. This salary range is further cemented when you consider Danny Woodhead and Julian Edelman. Both Patriots are similar players to Casey and reasons why the Texans should not let Casey hit the market and be wooed by Bill Belichick.
|Name/Statistic||Rushing||Receiving||Special Teams||Total Touchdowns||Snap Percentage||Contract|
|James Casey||1 carry for 6 yards||34 catches for 330 yards||n/a||3||54% OFF; 34% ST||???|
|Julian Edelman||n/a||21 catches for 235 yards||301 total yards||4||24% OFF; 15% ST||4-years/$1.7987M|
|Danny Woodhead||78 carries for 301 yards||40 catches for 446 yards||43 total yards||7||34% OFF; 15% ST||2-years/$1.675M|
For 2012, the production was fairly similar, and all three players earned $600,000 to $700,000. Woodhead, also a free agent, should walk away with a slightly larger contract than Casey given his production in fewer snaps, but Casey should keep it close with his snaps and untapped potential.
Before throwing out a fake offer to Casey, it is important to note that the Texans do reward their loyal, hard-working players. They did it with Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, DeMeco Ryans, Chris Myers, Kevin Walter, etc. Due to this, I may give Casey a slight increase on price.
Contract Average Year Range: $600K - $1M
What I would offer: $3.75M for five-years with a $1.25M guaranteed ($750K average)
You would be giving The Hero Of Rice a pay raise, making him a top-five paid fullback, and giving him some roster security. The deal is also very sensible, in terms of market and like-players, and keeps a productive, versatile player on the roster and away from the scheming hands of the Belichicks of the world. Casey is a no-brainer to re-sign and hopefully both parties take care of this very quickly.
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