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Red Zone Play: Free Agent Feast Or Famine

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Who will Houston score in free agency?

Houston Texans v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Since (barring any unforeseen trades), Houston isn’t stepping to the mic until Pick #68 in the upcoming NFL Draft, free agency should mean more this offseason than it has in some time.

The changing of the guard at the general manager position should also spice things up as Brian Gaine is certainly no Rick Smith. Gaine also has $62,383,067 burning a hole in his pocket.

With players like Andrew Norwell, Malcolm Butler, Nate Solder, Dontari Poe, Zach Brown, Justin Pugh, Jimmy Graham, Terrelle Pryor, Tyler Eifert, Morris Claiborne and Josh Sitton about to hit the unemployment line, Gaine should have plenty of suitors for his “shut up and take my money!” request.

Even though it’s alleged that the Texans have no interest in players who participated in last season’s protests, at the end of the day, the NFL is a business, and business is about making money. Sadly, there are very few who will set aside millions in exchange for a moral victory.

Rumors are swirling that DeAndre Hopkins is trying to persuade Jimmy Graham and Malcolm Butler to join the Battle Red Brotherhood.

The market for offensive linemen is going to be hot, with willing employers sure to overpay for mid-grade talent. Guys at the top of the market like Andrew Norwell and Nate Solder are about to get PAID. But the (multi-) million dollar question is whether that paycheck will come with Bob McNair’s autograph.

Bringing in a guy like Dontari Poe might do wonders to free up the Texans’ pass rushers and take some heat off J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus. Poe is no longer in his prime, but the wily vet is certainly still a nightmare for many sub-prime NFL offensive linemen - even more so if surrounded by Houston’s ridiculously talented pass rush.

Having a linebacker like Zach Brown ready to thump opposing running backs couldn’t hurt either; the Zach and Zach (Cunningham) show would be pretty sweet, too.

Terrelle Pryor seems to have become what Houston hoped Braxton Miller would be – a former great college quarterback turned receiver who simply finds a way to let his talent and athleticism shine. Even if he didn’t do so well in the Redskins’ building last year, could Pryor light it up in Bill O’Brien’s offense? Or will he end up back in Cleveland once more?

Speaking of former Ohio NFLers, Tyler Eifert would be a great addition to Houston’s offense if Jimmy Graham isn’t swooning from DeAndre Hopkins’ fashionable sales pitch.

If Houston can find a way to shore up the offensive line, grab one of the two tight ends, and bring in a couple of defensive starters (or trade for a Harrison Smith quality safety), 2018 could be the year.