The offseason doesn’t offically start until Monday, February 5th, after the champagne is popped and swallowed, with the confetti scooped up like entrails. Although it’s early, it doesn’t mean we can’t have wants about who we want to see a Texans uniform once free agency comes and goes. Here are the free agents the masthead is most interested in this offseason.
Personally I would really like to throw a bunch of money at Andrew Norwell so we can shore up the interior offensive line. You can find good corners and safeties literally anywhere in the draft, but quality offensive linemen are a rare breed these days. Getting Xavier Su’a-Filo off the field would be one of the best things this team could do for Deshaun Watson’s future.
Trumaine Johnson is the top corner in this free agent class. The Rams are going to have to pay top dollar if they want to keep him. I think the Texans could use some help at corner; it seems to be their weakest position.
If Houston can shore up the offensive line and the secondary, there is no question they can contend in ‘18. Johnson would be a huge help to that cause.
It’s kind of pointless to speculate when we don’t know who will actually be tagged or whatever yet. But one guy I really want to see on an incentive-laden deal is Tyler Eifert -- not only is he athletic, but he also idiot-proofs red zone playcalling for a head coach who can get overly cute there at times.
For me it’s a split decision between two safeties who might become free agents: Kenny Vacarro (Saints), and Lamarcus Joyner (Rams). They will both be 27 years of age in 2018 and would be an instant upgrade to an area of strong need for Houston. A three to four year deal would be good given their ability and age.
My preference would be to lean to the younger guys, because age takes a toll on speed for defensive backs.
Nate Solder. Having a true road grader left tackle to pave the way for Deshaun Watson is worth whatever it takes to land him. The way Duane Brown upgraded the line the moment he hit the field proves having one great LT can make a huge difference. Pulling a guy from New England also means there’s less adaptation to scheme time, and the guy is just a bulldozer.
CB: Trumaine Johnson seems like an obvious answer, though he wasn’t that good in 2017, and he’s going to cost a fortune to sign. If you think the Kyle Fuller we saw in 2017 is the real Kyle Fuller, he might be the better signing. If you want to take a gamble, Ross Cockrell will be 27 and he’s playing at a decent level. Nickell Robey-Coleman would almost definitely be an upgrade in the slot. Personally, I’d take a hard look at Cockrell and Robey-Coleman.
LT: There’s a lot of love here for Nate Solder, but I’d also take a look at Cameron Fleming. If you think Fleming can play either tackle position full time, he’s younger and will have a lower cap hit. Julie’n Davenport looked good at times last season, but I’m not sure I want him protecting Deshaun Watson’s blind side just yet. Fleming may be able to hold it down a year or two.
G: For all available free agents and the quality at each position, I think Andrew Norwell should be our top target. Clearly, he would be an instant upgrade, and we have a lot of cap space to go get him.
Unless there are some big cuts, there aren’t really any top talents available in this free agent class. Instead I hope Houston spreads the money around and makes a lot of low risk additions. They should go out and have an offseason similar to what the Colts had last year, when they brought in John Simon, Jabaal Sheard, Barkevious Mingo, and Margus Hunt; Indy smartly avoided giving out monstrous contracts.
Some guys out there I like: Greg Robinson if he plays guard, Aldon Smith, Rex Burkhead, Isaiah Crowell, Kyle Fuller, Star Lotulelei if he plays defensive end, Tyler Eifert, Alex Okafor, Austin Seferain-Jenkins, Jeremy Hill, Jack Mewhort, Kony Ealy, and Teddy Bridgewater ;)