While there were signs your Houston Texans might have pulled off a few big trades and other signs indicating it wasn’t going to happen, the NFL’s annual season trade deadline came and went with no real news out of NRG Stadium. The speculated trade with the Green Bay Packers for Will Fuller V allegedly bogged down in a stalemate at Packers Central over the worth of Fuller.
Texans looking for a 2nd round pick in exchange for Will Fuller per @TomPelissero on NFL Network right now.— Ken Ingalls - Packers Cap (@KenIngalls) November 3, 2020
Apparently, the Packers didn’t agree that Fuller was worth a second round pick.
Or at least some of the Packers staff didn’t, but maybe some did?
I’m told the Green Bay Packers have discussed trading for Texans' receiver Will Fuller. However, there's been a disagreement in Green Bay at the highest levels of the organization over whether or not adding an elite receiver in the short term would be worth the spend.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) November 3, 2020
The major win here is that the Texans weren’t willing to get duped into buying beachfront property in Lubbock, so Jack Easterby and Romeo Crennel are already better than their predecessor in that regard.
Packers also wanted Texans to pay a portion of Will Fuller's salary in proposed trade, per league sources. That, and disconnect on draft pick compensation, plus COVID-19 situation, all led to no deal— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 3, 2020
However, that doesn’t mean Crennel and his band of misfit toys can’t storm the lair of the Toy Taker and salvage some of what’s left of 2020 in other ways. For example:
The Houston Texans (Should) Sign Johnathan Joseph.
Titans planning to release OLB Vic Beasley while also cutting veteran CB Johnathan Joseph. Shaking up an underperforming D in Tennessee.... https://t.co/Qa8aqexnkP— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 3, 2020
While there’s no doubt J-Jo isn’t the same player who should find his banner in the Texans’ Ring of Honor the second he retires, his current PFF grade is 63.8 overall, placing him 41st out of all eligible cornerbacks. For a frame of reference, Bradley Roby is ranked 25th (68.9 overall) and Vernon Hargreaves III is ranked 111th (39.2 overall). Joseph bleeds battle red and would most likely make a great addition to the coaching staff in the event he chooses to retire at the end of 2020.
As Mighty Matt Weston pointed out the other day, here’s a list of players who could move on to greener pastures, if invited to do so by the team, to save cap space going into 2021:
The Houston Texans (Should) Cut David Johnson Now.
Of these players, David Johnson is the clear choice for addition by subtraction. Per OverTheCap, if Houston cuts Johnson before the June 1st deadline, the team will net a $12.3 million savings for 2021 - the fourth largest possible savings behind releasing J.J. Watt, Laremy Tunsil, or Whitney Mercilus. Taking Johnson off the roster now would allow the team to give reps to a younger, less expensive, more productive tailback. Johnson currently ranks 50th of 55 eligible tailbacks with an overall score of 56.8. The nightmare of losing DeAndre Hopkins lives on every time Johnson takes the field..
Brandin Cooks (77.4 overall) would also create significant cap space ($8 million) with his release; however, he and Kenny Stills are great insurance for the injury prone Will Fuller V.
The Houston Texans (Should) Sign Vic Beasley.
While the formerly feared linebacker used to command attention whenever he set foot on the field, like Joseph, Beasley’s glory days are in the rear view mirror. While his overall PFF grade is a mediocre 51.3, his run defense grade is 75.9, making him a solid situational defender to help with the Texans’ nonexistent run defense.
For reference, Zach Cunningham is earning a 56.1 run defender score, Benardrick McKinney a 58.4, Dylan Cole 54.2, Brennan Scarlett 44.6, and Whitney Mercilus 32.9...yikes. Jacob Martin, landed in the second worst trade in Texans history when Bill O’Brien paid Jadeveon Clowney to leave, is carrying a 67.4 score. Tyrell Adams is putting up the best of the bunch with 75.8. In the context of those numbers, Beasley looks like a pretty good addition on obvious run downs.
The Houston Texans (Should) Stop Acting Like 2020 is Winnable.
Owner Cal McNair spoke optimistically about the Texans chances to make the NFL Playoffs on Sports Radio 610 the other day. While the rah-rah from the big boss is appreciated, trying to make believe this pretender is a contender just does more harm to the future. Houston has several young players who could use reps to improve for the future. They have several players who could use some situational reps to increase their market value, and the team could use the time to showcase the potential in the locker room for an incoming general manager and coaching staff. Along the way, they’ll probably still win the same number of games they would otherwise when 2020 is all said and done.
Bringing back Joseph, signing Beasley to a minimal one-year prove-it deal, and dumping Johnson would result in a net salary cap gain and position the local capologist to start in the black instead of the red when the team begins 2021 preparations. It’s no longer about next week, but next season at this point.