Quin...is this the end? - Bob Levey
Free agency begins in less than two hours. That could mean a sad goodbye to players like Glover Quin, which may hurt more after the NFC West decided to get all handsy.
Set your timers. In less than two hours, the clock will strike 3 p.m. CST, and free agency will finally be upon us. It's that special time of year when select NFL players finally get rewarded for all their sacrifices and hard work by signing contracts that teams will honor until they decide not to anymore. If you want to know what the future will look like, follow the day's news here at Battle Red Blog. Which players will bolt for greener pastures? Which will decide that home truly is where the heart is? Which will have to wait for another day to find out where they'll be playing football in 2013, sitting by the phone while looking at pictures of their jerseys Photoshopped onto the bodies of players who are clearly not them?
It's going to be an exciting day. I hope you've got at least one browser reserved for opening things in new tabs. We'll have an open thread posting at 3 p.m. for all of us to track player movement as free agency officially begins.
Glover Quin sure isn't making Texans fans feel very comfortable about his pending unrestricted free agency with talk like this. Especially when only a day earlier, he chose to retweet this line from Kendrick Lamar. Those words sound pretty ominous given the context, but that's nothing new these days when you follow Quin on Twitter. He's been using the site to subtly hint at a looming divorce since the infamous three gusts of wind/lone cow/smiling pile of poop hieroglyph he carved for us the day Smithiak decided not to franchise him.
As someone who wants GQ back, it is reassuring to see The Sideline View's Adam Caplan telling us all to just calm down and have faith that a deal will get done, even if it comes down to the wire. As someone who knows that a pile of poop - even a smiling one - is typically a bad omen when tweeted by a player the day he is not offered a long term contract, NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah prepares me for the inevitable; he says Detroit is the word he's hearing when it comes to who will land Quin.
At this point, you've just got to look on the bright side: no matter what happens, the Texans found a perfect time to potentially lose a quality safety. An already bloated free agent market at that position got even more bloated on Monday, when St. Louis officially released Quintin Mikell.
Whether it's Quin or his bargain replacement, it's clear that the Texans' need to bolster their secondary in 2013 became a lot more urgent Monday afternoon. A Cold War style arms race erupted over in the NFC West, leaving San Francisco and Seattle as the two uncontested superpowers in the division, and perhaps the league itself. Percy Harvin is bound for the Seahawks, in a deal that will get him paid the dollars he's been seeking, while all that stands between Anquan Boldin and a 49ers jersey is a case of cerebral malaria and a physical undone by works of charity abroad.
The Texans drew the black bean in having to play both of those teams next season, on the road in San Francisco and hosting Seattle at home. This is a problem primarily because our quarterback is Matt Schaub, while the superpowers play Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, respectively, under center. Mutually Assured Destruction does not work in this scenario. The only result I can foresee is the Battle Red Blog community becoming very, very M.A.D. after those two games.
What I'm really mad about is that the Texans have to play the NFC West this season, and it's probably not going to include Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb. Doug Farrar reports that Houston third stringer Case Keenum could soon have competition in the once-a-star-Cougar-now-a-backup-NFL-QB sweepstakes.
Getting back to the Harvin trade, ask Adrian Peterson how he feels about the move. Regardless of the picks - and cap relief - Minnesota got in return, he'll tell you his thoughts, straight up: "Aaaaangry."
Speaking of Peterson and anger, it probably isn't the best time to let A.D. know that soon, he may not be allowed to lower his head and use the crown of his helmet to drive into defenders to gain that extra yard. New York Giants President John Mara, a member of the NFL's competition committee, tells The New York Times that such a rule may be passed for offensive players and defenders alike when the owners meet next week in Phoenix.
That isn't the only potential rule change designed to enhance player safety that may be coming down the pipe. The so-called "Cushing Rule" could come into effect very soon as well. USA Today reports that the competition committee recently agreed to ban the kind of peel-back block inside the tackles that ended the Texans' inside linebacker's season last year. The committee also reportedly plans to ban cut-blocks more than three yards outside the tackles, in addition to low, blindside blocks to defenders chasing a quarterback who has left the pocket and is changing directions while scrambling.
The Cushing Rule may do more harm than good to the Texans, as it could make the execution of their zone-blocking run scheme more difficult.
To wrap things up, how about a photo that serves as motivation to all the young players out there dreaming of that first big free agent payday?