Last Friday night, while the rest of us were dreaming of Conference Championships without a stir in the world, the Texans made a shotgun signing. They snuck into their office, quickly scribbled worlds, and disappeared back into their offseason dungeons. The Texans got the worm. They re-signed Seantrel Henderson to a one-year, $4.5 million contract.
In case you forgot, Henderson was the Texans’ plan at right tackle before the 2018 season started. The behemoth played for a bit in Buffalo and was Houston’s Week One starter against the Patriots. He proceeded to break his ankle, and the Texans didn’t know what to do from there. They moved Juli’en Davenport to right tackle, where he was horrendous. They started Martinas Rankin at left tackle, where he was also horrendous. They benched Davenport and started Kendall Lamm at right tackle. Rankin was still horrendous and Lamm evolved from the worst tackle I’ve ever seen to slightly incompetent, a pubescent growth spurt. Then the Texans finally settled on Davenport at left tackle and Lamm at right. Once they started to chip, they were okay.
Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times last season, and the Texans were last in pressure rate. These numbers are skewed by early season mismanagement, secondary blockers, blitz pickup misses, and Watson himself, but yes, talent needs to be added to the offensive line, and competition needs to be created at a minimum. I’m in the camp that the offensive line’s pass protection was better than most think, but there’s no way the Texans can sit on their hands and keep the same five guys as their definite starters entering 2019.
Cue Henderson. This is the part where I say Henderson was never good to begin with; I wrote about it last offseason. His size and kick slide are his two strengths, but he’s not very strong and lacks any ability to extinguish blocks with his punch or block the second level. Sure, he may have developed into a better player since then and added plates to his bench press, but I doubt it.
I don’t hate the signing. Turn on your water tap. That’s how I feel about it. One of the keys to offensive line play is consistency, knowing who to block, and knowing how to play with the guys around you. With a shattered ankle, Henderson was watching film, learning Houston’s offense, learning what not to do, and learning who to block. A different tackle would have to come in and learn all of these things without even considering skill and ability.
The Texans just need bodies on the offensive line who know what they’re doing to generate competition. Is Henderson good? Probably not. But he’s big and knows the offense. At this time of the offseason, that’s more than enough justification to spend $4.5 million.