Fresh off yesterday's news that the Texans are interested in meeting with Warrick Dunn, the Chronicle discloses that the team has arranged visits with two (2) other free agents: John Wade (started last season for Tampa Bay) and Chris Crocker (played last season with Atlanta). The interest in Wade (whose surname will surely conjure nightmares of the Ghost of Botched Free Agent Signings Past), a center, makes sense from the perspective that Rex Hadnot may no longer be on Smithiak's radar. And while I'm eager for the team to bring someone in to compete with Steve McKinney's torn anterior cruciate ligament, a quick search of SB Nation's blog on all things Buccaneer has left me a bit nervous about Wade's potential signing. Consider the following:
Wade isn't exactly in the prime of his career; he's about to begin his 11th season in the league. While age alone isn't determinative of worth, it's certainly a factor in a league where the average career lasts a mere 3.5 years. For a team that's trying to build with youth, signing a player like Wade would seem odd. Then again, the fact remains that Wade did start for a playoff team last year (and may be available only because of Tampa Bay's signing of Jeff Faine). Am I simply overreacting to acquiring veteran free agent offensive linemen in light of the team's previous, (mostly) unsuccessful signings in that area? Quite possibly. But then there's this quote from Buc 'Em as they took stock of their free agents:
Hmmmm...not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? With regard to Chris Crocker, our buddy Dave over at The Falcoholic once glowingly described him as not appearing "capable of punching [his] way out of a wet paper bag with scissors in [his] hands when it comes to pass coverage." Cripes. I reckon that's just what a team starved for secondary help needs--another guy who can't cover. Maybe Smithiak is simply stockpiling defensive backs in the hope that someone will step up? That's better than no defensive backs at all, right? Right?
Speaking of DBs, the silence on the Will Demps front is deafening. I'm not saying that Demps is Ronnie Lott, but the guy did play well enough last season to merit a nod as a Pro Bowl alternate. Yet I haven't heard word one about the team trying to bring him back; the only things I've read involve him visiting other teams. Does this mean the Texans aren't interested in retaining a guy who was one of their better defenders last year? That Demps' price tag is too high for Houston? That Will has cut his swath through the ladies of our fine city and must go elsewhere to keep the dream alive? I have no idea, but the lack of discussion about keeping Demps in the fold strikes me as weird.