Sorry folks - I've been wrapped up with resuming school and having a lovely $3,000 surprise bill dropped on my doorstep.
Enough about me. Let's move on to potential 2009 Free Agents for our Houston Texans!
Okay...we are going to talk about what's available, what we might try, and what is downright impossible and/or ludicrous.
As we talked about in a previous post , we have probably $24-27 million available under the cap after re-signings if we cut TJ, Weaver, Green, and Greenwood. We free up an additional $2 million with cutting Demps, so let's throw him in there as well. That leaves your Houston Texans with somewhere between $26-29ish million under the cap to play with. With these numbers in mind, let's look at what we may pursue.
First, defensive line.
Let me get this out of the way. The Face Stomper is available, but no chance in hell we go after him. Not only because he is going to demand (and receive) the biggest defensive contract in the history of the NFL, but also because he is a jerk.
Julius Peppers - Ahh, we've all had little fantasies about this one, we've replicated it in Madden, and the thought of Peppers and Mario on a D-Line just gave Trent Green another concussion. However, I don't see it happening.
As pointed out by Tim the other day, Peppers is going to want a Jared Allen-esque deal. I don't think Rick Smith is going to hand Peppers a $72.36 million dollar deal, with $31 million guaranteed. We won't spend that much money on a player who won't "put us over the top." We have too many needs to do that.
Peppers <would also be a bad fit. He has been whining recently, saying he would be better in a 3-4 (No, Julius, you wouldn't. You don't like to play the run.) and wants to sign with a 3-4 team.
If he came to the Texans, he would also want to play right end. We happen to have a relatively talented RE, if you haven't heard. Julius sucks at LE (at least he did in the Panthers' scheme) and simply could not produce. I think Mario could do it, but I'd rather keep him in his comfort zone--you know, the place where he keeps dominating people.
Verdict: Fun to entertain. Likely? No.
Bertrand Berry--Coming off a Super Bowl appearance (and possible victory), Berry might be looking to jump ship for a payday. He's getting up into that age where teams start to move on. At 33 years of age, he's a bit old to rejuvenate a D-Line, but he could be a role player. Heck, this regular season he had 3 more sacks than Travis Johnson's career total (this doesn't fully apply - he's a DE, but still). If he didn't ask for too much money (which he probably will), I think he could play a role at LE for 1-3 seasons while we help solidify it with young talent.
Verdict: Possible, under the right circumstances.
Shaun Cody--Coming off literally the worst season ever, this Lion is probably down. Considered a bit of a bust by Lions fans, he hasn't recorded a sack since 2005. However, at 6'4", 310, he could try and be a fit at NT. He is only 25 years old and has a lot of life left in him, and I think a change of scenery out of the lifeless hell that is Detroit could elicit a change in him. There were times this year in Detroit when I watched him and he looked pretty stout against the run.
The best news? He will probably come on the cheap. Coming from Detroit, he may be viewed as damaged goods.
Verdict: Cheap, and could possibly replace TJ at NT? Go for it.
Chris Canty--I know, I know, hes a 3-4 end. But I think he could work. At 6'7", 305, he's a pretty big dude, and has managed about 3 sacks a season playing in the 3-4. 3 sacks is pretty difficult when you have DeMarcus Ware on a dead sprint into the backfield every play. Canty is also just a scant 26 years of age, so he is not on the way out. He could for sure play the run well, but I also think he would be able to create pressure on the left side as well, considering he would be one on one often with right tackles, and he's just as big as them.
Considering the cancerous locker room he is in, Canty may be looking for a way out. If he comes at a reasonable price, I would consider him as well.
Verdict: New scheme for him, not ideal fit, but hell, the man generated 3 sacks competing with DeMarcus Ware. I think anything is better than The Corpse Formerly Known As Anthony Weaver. If he comes at a reasonable price, bring him in.
Marcus Tubbs--This large man excites and scares me all at the same time. At 6'3", 320, he would fit very well at NT for us. He has even been dominant at times for the Seahawks. The problem? He is coming off microfracture surgery in his knee in 2006, was on IR all of 2007, and was released in 2008 for not progressing with rehab. Sounds like a Charles Spencer case to me. If we could bring him in for no or little guaranteed money...do it. He was dominant when he was healthy, but him being healthy was rare.
Verdict: His knee is a huge question, but if we can get him up to 75% of peak performance, we have a much better NT than we did previously.
Terrell Suggs--Suggs is an interesting prospect for us, because he could probably play DE or SLB. Personally, I would rather have him with his hand down. After all, that was his whole argument during his franchise year, right? He is a ferocious pass rusher, and I feel would be a magnificent compliment across from Mario. I just don't know if he would be willing to convert to a full-time DE. There is also a very strong possibility that he is franchised by Baltimore, as they can probably work something out for Ray Lewis and Bart Scott probably isn't in as much demand.
Suggs will probably command a pretty big contract, but not along the lines of Allen or Peppers. He would add a great, young, proven player for our DL, but it would lock up a lot of our cap wiggle room.
Verdict: I would love it, but don't think it will happen. I think Suggs is going to be Baltimore's priority this offseason, and that leads us to..
Bart Scott--Bart Scott seems to be much more attainable than Suggs. Bart Scott, as Diehard Chris pointed out ,would be a pretty awesome force at SLB. Not only are we bringing in a proven, quality SLB, but he's also an awesome presence in the locker room. He's 28 years old and definitely has some life left in him. Bart Scott loves to hate, brings the pain, and I think our defense could use a badass veteran presence. Also, I just caught on SportsCenter that it is going to cost Baltimore about $19 million to keep Suggs and Lewis (purportedly the Cowboys are going to offer $8 million a year for Lewis, so they would probably have to up it). I think Scott is the odd man out, and to see Adibi, DeMeco, and Scott as a linebacking corps would excite me.
Verdict: Do it. It would probably cost us $15 million ($7 million guaranteed) over 3 or 4 years to land Scott. I think it would be worth it.
Karlos Dansby-- Dansby has been awesome for the Cards this year, racking up 119 tackles in '08 regular season. He's young at only 27 years old, and he probably isn't the biggest concern for Arizona, as they have to worry about Kurt Warner leaving in free agency as well. Dansby will probably be asking for around the same money at Bart Scott, but would probably be a better fit due to his play in a 4-3 at the moment. The only thing is that in all likelihood he will be locked up quickly in the offseason, as Arizona has $41 millionish in cap space for the 2009 free agency run. I think he could do well as the SLB for the Houston Texans, though unless he has a problem with Arizona, I think he will be going back.
Verdict: Would be a good fit, but unlikely due to Arizona's huge amount of cap space.
Johnathan Vilma--I was going to do a write up on Vilma, but I don't think he's a likely target. He's been arrested and he wants to go back to New Orleans and the Saints have said their priority is to re-sign him. I don't think he would be too good a fit on the field and/or in the locker room.
Michael Boley-- Boley was Atlanta's SLB this year, and he was a difference maker. He is a little small at 225, but he played all out and played well. He had no sacks this year (and one INT), so his ability to get to the QB is in question, but he is only 26 years old and pretty good in coverage. I don't think he would be an ideal fit by any means, but he would be a capable starter that could be had at an affordable price.
Verdict: Reasonable if we can't find anything better and we don't project we are going to take a true starting SLB in the draft.
Angelo Crowell--Angelo Crowell is an interesting prospect. Coming off season ending knee surgery for chrondromalacia , his rehab is progressing ahead of schedule. Before his surgery, he was an impact SLB for the Bills, amassing 119/83/126 tackles from 05-07, with 16 batted passes, 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 5 INT over that three year period.
Bad news? He's coming off season ending knee surgery.
Good news? He could be a true starting-caliber, impact SLB for the cheap... if he comes back to full form.
Verdict: If Crowell passes all the physicals, and looks like he can move well, sign him to a decent contract with low guarantees and a lot of escalators for performance. If he plays up to them, I'll be more than happy to give him good money.
Nnamdi Asomugha--The other potential signing that give Texans fans warm fuzzies. Nmamdi would look very good in Battle Red, but the likelihood that he comes here is low. First and foremost, he is a true team player... which boggles my mind. He actually WANTS to stay in Oakland to help his team. Why, Scrabble, why do you do this to me? Toss your camaraderie out the window for a moment and come to us.
Secondly, Al Davis the Zombie Lord will probably franchise him. Honestly, who else are they going to franchise? The punter? They really have no one else to use the tag on, and there have already been rumors that they are negotiating long term to lock him up. I love the Raiders' tradition, but I hate Al Davis so much. I want him to get an air bubble in his IV tube and just not wake up one morning.
But I digress.
Verdict: Even though it would be ridiculously expensive, I would be so happy to see it done. But I don't think Davis will let him out of his cold, evil clutches.
Dawan Landry--Dawan Landry is a good young safety, albeit one coming off of a spinal cord concussion. He ran head-to-knee into Jamal Lewis and was carted off the field in the beginning of the '08 season and is now a free agent. His job got taken over by Jim Leonhard, and it is projected that Leonhard will keep his job even if Dawan returns. Landry is a starting quality safety who plays the run very well and does a decent job against the pass. Since he is coming off an injury and lost his starting role, I think he will be cheap. I also think he will be better than most safeties available in the draft (Louis Delmas, Patrick Chung, and Rashad Johnson are the only safeties I think could step in and perform; William Moore is showing he is a liability in coverage at the Senior Bowl).
Verdict: Same as with Crowell--if he returns from injury and comes at a reasonable price (don't low ball him, but don't throw the bank at him either), I believe he could be a capable starter for quite awhile.
Oshiomogho Atogwe - I would join Al Davis in the sacrifice of virgins to get Atogwe here. He is basically the lone bright spot for the Rams' defense the last 3 seasons, totaling 16 INT (and 6 forced fumbles in 2008 alone). He is a game-changer at free safety and not afraid to lay the wood. He is also only 27 years old and might want to move to a team looking to take the next step. The only problem is that he looks like a guaranteed lock for the Rams to franchise this offseason due to the fact the he was the team's defensive MVP and is a great locker room leader.
If he managed to sneak away un-franchised, he would want a big payday. If we are smart, we'd give it to him.
Verdict: I want him. He is a game-changing free safety and young to boot. He would cost us quite a bit, but it would be worth every penny, and there is NO safety available in this draft I think is up to his caliber, at least as a starter in 2009.
Brian Dawkins--Now, Dawkins is a playmaker...that can't be denied. However, he is old. Like, ancient old. At 35, he is definitely on his last legs and won't be in the league for more than 2-3 years. But he would be a definite upgrade to our defense, and would be an amazing veteran leader to a relatively young secondary, especially if we draft a corner/safety that we expect to start. By no means is Dawkins a long-term solution, but I think he knows how old he is, and I think we can get him for a good price if the Eagles are willing to let him go. Yet he probably wants to end his career with the Eagles and would sign back with them for a discount, simply out of loyalty.
Verdict: He would be an improvement for a season or two, and a great leader for an up-and-coming secondary. He would probably come cheap due to his age.
Okay guys, I'm glad you made it this far. These were players I thought could step in and start, not necessarily back-ups or camp bodies. I'm sure I missed some, so jump into the Comments and let me know. I also did not go into offensive linemen, but Jeff Saturday, Matt Birk, Jahri Evans, and Jason Brown would all upgrade the center or right guard spot. They might be deserving of a further post, but for the time being, we will look at throwing cash at defensive players.
If we could pick up Suggs, Scott, Nnamdi, or Atogwe, I would be ludicrously excited. The others, I think, have a lot of boom or bust potential, but would be good shots for the right money.
What do y'all think?