Notwithstanding the Pride of H-Town Case Keenum’s Minnesota Miracle, now immortalized in the Tecmo Bowl Hall of Fame, it’s hard not to look past the final upcoming games in the 2017 NFL schedule and to the offseason when you bleed battle red. My eye is already getting hooked by mock drafts and, given the lack of first and second round picks at the moment, lists of available free agents.
While we don’t have much hope for a standard Texans draft (i.e., a splash in round one, a solid round two, and then a bunch of roster filler) we can dream of an uncharacteristic harvest in free agency. If newly minted General Manager Brian Gaine can convince the McNairs to open up the wallet – definitely not something we see most years - there are a lot of intriguing names about to hit the market when free agency begins, on FreeAgentMas, the most anticipated holiday of a Texans fan’s offseason in 2018.
NFL.com has a list of the top 25 projected free agents about to hit the market, and Houston could benefit from adding several of them to bolster the roster.
While we all have our opinions of who we’d love to see in Deep Steel Blue and Liberty White next season, there are a few that could really help out in a big way. Without further (or lesser) ado, here’s my FreeAgentMas list.
Nate Solder, T, Patriots
Tom Brady’s blind-side protector is probably a league-average starting left tackle, and that will be worth plenty to some. His leadership and athleticism are both pluses, but the Patriots might not want to give him big money entering his age-30 season.
Bill Belichick has known since the start of his dominant campaign as ruler of the AFC East that you have to have great offensive linemen to have any chance of success in this league. He’s also shown he has no loyalty to anyone except the assistant responsible for cutting the sleeves off his hoodies, so Solder may be ripe for the picking.
Andrew Norwell, G, Panthers
An undrafted player in 2014, Norwell has been a rock-solid starter for three years before elevating his play to All-Pro status in 2017. (He remains so under-the-radar that he was lost in the shuffle on the original version of this list.) In a league awash with offensive-line issues, he’s as safe a free agent bet as it gets and will get paid accordingly.
Anyone who thinks the Texans don’t need an upgrade at guard has obviously been asleep for the last five seasons. Wake up, sleeping beauty. It’s time to block someone... anyone...
Trumaine Johnson, CB, Rams
The best cornerback on one of the best teams in football often traveled with the opposition’s best receiver. Johnson is just the type of quality starter/sub- Pro Bowlplayer who often gets paid like a superstar in free agency.
Plugging Johnson in opposite Johnathan Joseph will give Houston’s ageless wonder a reprieve from having to do it all himself. Adding Trumaine Johnson would make an instant impact in Houston, not only in the secondary but for a pass rush that will have a few nanoseconds longer to get to the quarterback. Move Kareem Jackson to safety full time, coach up some of the younger guys like Andre Hal, and the secondary should be solid.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
Yes, Landry is primarily a slot receiver. But on the rare occasions he’s put on the outside and asked to catch deep, he’s done that as well. Moreover, Landry has a tremendous sense of holes in zone coverages and how to exploit them, and he’s a good enough route-runner to fool the most practiced man cornerback. (Courtesy of Bleacher Report)
Watching a newly signed running back try and line up as a slot receiver due to injuries proves Houston still needs help to keep DeAndre Hopkins from burning out too soon. A solid slot guy like Landry would make the perfect complement to Nuk and burner Will Fuller.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals
Since Owen Daniels left for greener pastures, Houston has struggled to click at the tight end position. While CJF-350 has shown some toughness and Stephen Anderson exhibits flashes of brilliance now and again, having a talent like Eifert to bail out Deshaun Watson would be huge. It would also once again pilfer the Bengals, which is never a bad thing.
While adding one or more of these players certainly won’t cure all of Houston’s roster ills, it would go a long way to shoring up a team that has some superstar talent and not much else.
There ya have it, my five wish list players for the upcoming FreeAgentMas. Who made your wish list? Tell us why you want them to be Texans below.