Now that Bill O’Brien is kind of sort of the general manager, he has the chance to make up for Brian Gaine’s previous sins to improve the roster this year. Free agency has been over for months. There aren’t recently cut players to scoop up. The best avenue to improving the team is through trades, and without a real general manager in place, the Texans might as well just trade every draft pick for next year to make the team better this year.
Bucky Brooks had five blockubuster trades he’d like to see take place. Two were directly attached to the Houston Texans.
BALTIMORE RAVENS: Whitney Mercilus, LB or Jadeveon Clowney, LB, Texans. The surprising departure in free agency of seven-time Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs left a huge void in the Ravens’ lineup at pass rusher. The menacing veteran’s game has started to slip heading into Year 17, but he remains a scary threat for opposing quarterbacks off the edge. No. 55 has wreaked havoc on the perimeter for Baltimore since 2003; now, the Ravens need to find a new bully on the block after also losing Za’Darius Smith as a free agent. The defense helped ensure a successful transition to the job of QB1 as a rookie, holding Baltimore’s opponents to an average of 18 points and 277 yards per game while Jackson went 6-1 to close out the regular season. The team is counting on third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson to step into a major role, but the Ravens could still use a pass rusher with star power, like Mercilus or Clowney, both of whom are entering contract years in Houston (barring an extension for the franchise-tagged Clowney), to extend the dominance of a defense that ranked first overall and fifth against the pass in 2018.
HOUSTON TEXANS: Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers. The Texans made a concerted effort to upgrade the protection around quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was sacked a league-high 62 times last season, during the draft. Establishing a more consistent running game might also help temper their opponents’ aggression. Sure, Lamar Miller has shown flashes as the team’s RB1, but the veteran hasn’t cracked the 1,000-yard mark in either of the past two seasons, and his relatively paltry total of 100-yard games during that span (four) certainly doesn’t keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night. Gordon, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, has been negotiating with the Chargers, but if talks break down, maybe the Texans should knock on L.A.’s door in an attempt to upgrade a running game that needs some more juice.
Trading Jadeveon Clowney is a bad idea, and something the Texans shouldn’t do, for multiple reasons that have been scratched into these digital pages. I have no fingernails left. But trading Whitney Mercilus is interesting mainly because the Texans had him rush as a wide edge rusher, instead of tight and on the shoulder of the offensive tackle. With J.J. Watt and Clowney rushing in the spots that Mercilus usually occupied he was kind of phased out of the pass rush last season. If they continue to do this they’d be better off trading him for draft picks, which would have been helpful three months ago.
Giving up draft capital for a running back is silly though, especially a back with an injury history and about to hit free agency. The Texans’ offense doesn’t struggle because it needs its running backs to be 10% better. It’s bad because Watson was hurt, they had one receiver, Bill O’Brien is only aggressive with his playcalling when the team is behind, and the offensive line. Gordon wouldn’t solve any of these problems.
Missing on this list are veterans like Patrick Peterson and Trent Williams who have been rumored in trades for a while now, and more will arrive once training camps begin as well.
So, what trades if any would you like to see Houston make? Are there any players out there you’d like to see them target. Sound off in the comments below.