Last Friday there was a whimper, and then a release, once Jeff Allen was removed from the roster. He and the Texans reached an injury settlement, so he was removed from the PUP list and released. With his departure, Houston saved $6.125 million this season and will have a dead money charge of $1.25 million this year and next. This move was expected, even if the timing was strange. This seemed like a no-brainer that should have occurred once the offseason began. Allen was quite simply one of the worst offensive linemen in team history.
Allen couldn’t run or pass block. He was weak at the point of attack. He limped into blocks when he pulled. He was slow out of his stance. These are aspects of his play that can’t be explained by switching from left to right guard, but because of the opportunity cost involved. Back in March of 2016, Houston signed Allen instead of re-signing Brandon Brooks, saving a little over a million dollars per year in cap room. Since Brooks has come out and recently said he hated playing for Bill O’Brien, the switch from Brooks to Allen is less egregious; still, maybe more money or relationship salvaging could have been done to keep a top five guard in the league instead of ending up with one of the worst guards in the league.
Allen is a new member of Houston’s storied history of making terrible free agent signings. He now takes his place with the following guys
There was Ahman Green. He signed with Houston during his age 30 season. The former four-time Pro Bowler, from ages 24-27, came to Houston and played in only 14 games in two seasons. He had 554 rushing yards on 144 carries, which comes out to 3.8 yards an attempt. He scored five touchdowns and averaged 39.6 yards a game. He returned to Green Bay after being released two years into his Houston career, and then retired. Now, what we learned about Green is a given. Don’t pay running backs, and especially don’t pay running backs who are 30 or older. Back then, this realization wasn’t discovered.
There was Ed Reed. This decision was similar to the Allen signing. The Texans lost a player of theirs to free agency, a better player, in exchange for a terrible one. At the time ,Reed was supposed to be some magical warlock who could befuddle and confuse Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning, the quarterbacks Houston needed to vanquish to get over the hump. But by bringing Reed in, the Texans decided to part ways with Glover Quin, who signed with Detroit, was named to a Pro Bowl the following season, has started every game of his contract since then, and has 19 interceptions over the last five years. Reed was cut seven games into the season and then signed with the New York Jets. He retired the year after. Shiloh Keo started more games at safety than Reed that season. The Texans went 2-14 and needed a whole lot more than a warlock.
There was Vince Wilfork. Everyone loves Wilfork for the overalls, barbecue sauce, and Hard Knocks backyard basketball playing, but he wasn’t very good in Houston after signing here in 2015. The Texans’ run defense hovered around the same level of effectiveness with him, but that had more to do with the usual suspects than Wilfork’s performance. He was out of shape. He only provided fifteen effective snaps or so a game and offered nothing as a pass rusher. You can like Wilfork for aesthetics and personality, but he was a shell of the dominant run destroyer he was in New England.
There was [NAME REDACTED]. The Texans spent 2014 and 2015 bargain bin shopping and dumpster diving, without actually making any sort of real decision on the quarterback position. By doing so, they wasted one of the greatest defensive seasons of any player ever. They may have wasted J.J. Watt’s prime, and they did waste a top ten defense. After Brian Hoyer’s disastrous playoff performance, Houston finally decided to do something about their problem at quarterback.
They brought in [NAME REDACTED], the Denver Broncos quarterback who was benched for Peyton Manning, the QB who had the worst individual season of any quarterback to win a Super Bowl. [NAME REDACTED] played well his first two games in Houston. Then defenses kept two safeties back. He could no longer throw the deep ball. He didn’t have the accuracy to be a quick, short thrower. As a result, Houston’s offense was trapped in a ten yard box that consisted mostly of failed inside runs and throws to tight ends into the flat. That same season, the Texans made the playoffs and defensively finally played well enough to overthrow New England, but, sadly, [NAME REDACTED] was the quarterback and wasted the defenses effort. My heart still hurts.
If I had to pick the worst free agent signing, it would be Ed Reed. He didn’t care. He barely tried. When he even played (which wasn’t often), he just stood deep in the center of the field and hung out, collecting his enormous check. He was already older and on his way out. He blamed Wade Phillips for his struggles in Houston. To get Reed, the Texans lost a top ten safety, someone who could have held down the back end of the secondary for the next five to seven years. They ended up with someone who lost his job to Shiloh Keo.
Yeah, the [NAME REDACTED] signing was worse in some ways, but Houston needed to take a shot to improve the quarterback position, and they just ended up shooting wrong. An attempt to improve the most important position in football is better than trotting out Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett another year.
So, my question for you is simple. Who was the worst free agent signing in Texans’ franchise history?
Who Was The Worst Free Agent Signing In Texans’ Franchise History?
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