From the onset it looks like the Texans are set on the interior. They have Senio Kelemete at left guard, Nick Martin at center, and Zach Fulton at right guard. Here’s the trouble. Kelemete has shoddy hands, is inconsistent, and struggles blocking the second level.Martin is a below average run blocker, and pass blocking isn’t really all that important as a center; it’s a lot more helping than taking on individual rushers. And Fulton, well, he follows the golden rule: every offensive lineman who leaves Houston gets better and every offensive lineman who arrives in Houston gets worse. Fulton was a fringe Pro Bowler in Kansas City, and was mediocre last season in Houston.
The Texans could release Kelemete. They could move Martin to guard. They could move Fulton to any interior offensive line position including center. Everyone is up in arms about improving the tackle position this offseason. In free agency those options are thin. Immediate improvement can come on the interior.
Brian Gaine has $72 million to work with this offseason to improve the roster. And with that cap space he can maneuver it to make interesting trades. He can do things like swap draft picks, or provide later round picks, to pick up veteran players on expensive contracts a team is looking to get rid of, and/or are still having to pay guaranteed money to. The Browns did this sort of thing when they traded Kevin Zeitler to New York for Olivier Vernon. And today, the Jets made this exact same type of trade. They traded a fifth round pick, for a sixth round pick and Kelechi Osemele. In this case the Jets took on a player they’ll have to pay $10.2 million to this year, and $11.7 million to next year if they decide to keep him. The Raiders moved up in the draft and moved on from a player they were going to release anyways.
Raiders have an agreement in principle to trade G Kelechi Osemele to the NY Jets, sources tell @josinaanderson and me. Trade cannot be processed until Weds, but two sides have agreement in place. Another Raiders’ trade.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2019
Osemele didn’t have a great 2018, but no one on Oakland’s offensive line did. Former greats Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson underwent similar sad years. Osemele still sits on a throne of skulls while picking his teeth with a tibia. He’s the most violent run blocker I’ve ever watched. Defenders are flattened cartoon characters after he’s done with them. And he has the strength to evaporate pass rushers at the point of attack. There is no muddying up the pocket against him.
Osemele would have been a perfect power run/inside zone blocking improvement at left guard for Houston. This is the type of trade Houston should have been in on and looking to make. The only reason why they shouldn’t be is if the Texans want to actually commit to some type of run blocking scheme, or identity, instead of putting it through the wash throughout the year. If Houston is committing to running the outside zone then Osemele wouldn’t be a great fit, but if that’s the case, it makes Rodger Saffold all the more appealing.
Regardless of Osemele, these are the type of trades the Texans need to be looking to make to expand the talent pool outside of unrestricted free agency. They have the cap space. They have all their draft picks including two second rounders. Moving a late round pick and taking on salary is an easy thing for them to do. They should be looking at trades as a way to improve their roster even if they didn’t make a move for Osemele.