Continuing with the theme of potential free agent targets for the 2011 Texans, today we dive into players at both safety positions. It is a pretty weak year for safeties as far as available free agents go, and it has become pretty much an afterthought since Glover Quin will be moving to free safety in 2011. In fact, have you heard that McClain thinks he will be a future Pro Bowler at the position? If not, he's telling anyone who will listen. With Wade's system being said to need "twins" at the safety position, we'll look at both free and strong safeties that are available when/if free agency ever lifts off.
Eric Weddle (SD) - Probably about as close to a marquee player as is available at the position. He is going to get a hefty contract after last season, and San Diego signed Bob Sanders on the cheap instead of paying him. Will Bob McNair be willing to open the checkbook for Weddle? He might be worth it, but how much is too much to tie up in the position?
Danieal Manning (CHI) - Not only did he have a very solid season at the position last year, but he returned kicks impressively as well. Two birds, one stone. I wouldn't be surprised to see Houston give him a call.
Michael Huff (OAK) - After a pretty slow start, Huff had a solid 2011 and is going to get paid for it. This one would also satisfy the UT homers' thirst for a hometown kid as well. He's only 28 and is hitting his peak as a player. Would be an incredible get. Again, it will come down to dollars, as I am sure Houston will be only one of several teams interested in his services.
Dawan Landry (BAL) - The knock on Landry was that he couldn't cover, but was excellent against the run. His coverage was vastly improved in 2010 and should have him on the teams radar. Could be an affordable option.
Quintin Mikell (Eagles) - Another guy who is in line for a big payday and will likely get it. Pro Bowler who is great against the run and in coverage. You don't hear too much about him; he is as solid as it comes, but he is on the wrong side of 30.
Donte Whitner (BUF) - Whitner is very good against the run, but has struggled in coverage for much of his career. While he did improve in 2010, I'm not sure that he fits Wade's vision.
Gerald Sensabaugh (DAL) - A very solid player and one of the few defensive backs that had a good year for the Cowboys in 2010. I could see him being brought in for a visit and dinner, though I feel he will ultimately resign with Dallas. Just an opinion.
Dashon Goldson (SF) - A close friend of mine who is a Niners fan tells me that Goldson is a solid player that just can't stay healthy, which could make him an affordable option if none of the above listed guys work out.
Some other names to look out for are Tom Zbikowski (BAL), Brodney Poole (NYJ), Roman Harper (NO) and Atari Bigby (GB).
Any of these guys float your boat? Other than Huff or Weddle, who will cost a pretty penny, there is no one guy that makes me think he should be priority number one when free agency begins. However, a safety combo of Quin and Troy Nolan doesn't exactly make me ooze with confidence either. And if Shiloh Keo is in the running to be a starter, well, then, we have much bigger problems.
Of the above listed guys, who would you like to see your Texans make a run at when this lockout garbage comes to a halt? Got someone in mind that I missed? Name him in the comments below.