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Reading Between The Lines

If you haven't already read it, John McClain's column in today's Chronicle was chock full of discussion points that bear further analysis. The ones that caught my eye:

The Texans have every intention of re-signing [Dunta] Robinson, but it won’t be easy. He’s going to cost them more guaranteed money than any player has received other than Mario Williams.
Would you pay Dunta Robinson more guaranteed money than anyone this side of Super Mario? No specific numbers are given, but we know that The Corpse Formerly Known As Anthony Weaver got a signing bonus of $12,500,000.00. Mario Williams, of course, got $26,500,000.00 in guaranteed dough. For the purpose of this exercise, let's split the difference in Weaver and Mario. Would you give Dunta $19 mil in guaranteed money? $15 mil? Or would that money be spent better elsewhere? Like in locking up DeMeco Ryans, Owen Daniels, Steve Slaton, etc.?
Speaking of Williams, he’s preparing for Sunday’s Pro Bowl with teammates Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. Williams invited the other defensive linemen as well as former defensive line coach Jethro Franklin and new defensive coordinator Frank Bush to come as his guests. A very classy move.

Classy indeed, though I wish he invited all defensive lineman except Travis Johnson.

Since Smith and coach Gary Kubiak were hired, they’ve signed a lot of free agents. They’re not averse to spending money on a player they think fills a need, but they won’t be blowing $30 million guaranteed on another team’s player, so you can forget about them pursuing Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers.

I don't think any of us harbored any illusions that there would be any big splashes in free agency made, so this isn't really surprising.

Expect the Texans to sign seven or eight free agents, but none will break the bank. Their philosophy is to reward their players. That sets a good example for other players: Play and get paid.

Someone needs to scrawl that last sentence on Steve Slaton's locker several hundred times.

As far as their needs in free agency, they’re the same as the draft. The Texans need a pass rusher or two, preferably an end. Because Williams is comfortable on the right side, undersized ends don’t fit their needs. They need an end who can play over the tight end and rush from the left side. undersized defensive ends, huh? Makes you wonder who the Texans would even consider at DE at No. 15, doesn't it? Most, if not all, of the candidates would probably fit that "undersized" mold.

Because of the uncertainty over Diles and Adibi, Smith and Kubiak need to add an outside linebacker. Keep in mind that it’s not out of the question that they will use their first-round pick on one because it’s a talented position in this draft.

Smoke and mirrors, designed to throw everyone who reads it off the scent? Or a hint that Smithiak has come to the realization that the best defensive player available at No. 15 will likely be a linebacker?