As we wait for Houston Texans owner Cal McNair to hire a new general manager and a new head coach, which feels an awful lot like playing Fandom Russian Roulette, let’s take a few minutes to explore some roster reshaping things that could happen and have an immediate positive impact on the Texans on-field performance. Admittedly, some of these predictions are rather farfetched.
- Houston Texans Sign Will Fuller to Team-Friendly Contract Extension, Then Trade Him to New England Patriots for Michael Onwenu.
Even though Deshaun Watson managed to capture every meaningful Texans quarterback record this season, the offensive line still could have used an upgrade. Not just for Watson, but for the run game as well.
Will Fuller is currently a lukewarm to hot commodity depending on whom you speak with when it comes to impending free agents. While Fuller has shown flashes of being the best wideout in football at times with his greased-lightning speed and vastly improved hands, the injury history and recent PED suspension plant a pretty significant asterisk on his career so far.
The Patriots have the luxury of having both Joe Thuney and Michael Onwenu on their roster. Even though Thuney is coming up on free agency, just like Fuller, with a wave of his dark hand, Bill Belichick can get him re-signed to a team-friendly deal. Darth Bill could then trade Onwenu to Houston for a speedster like Fuller to help out Trevor Lawrence, whom New England will manage to swindle away from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a draft day trade that proves once again the Glitter Kitties just aren’t up to speed.
Planting Onwenu next to Laremy Tunsil would immediately cement Deshaun Watson’s blind side protection and make the left side of the line a source of strength in the run game.
- Houston Texans Sign Free Agent Cornerback William Jackson III.
If anyone out there thinks a healthy Bradley Roby and Gareon Conley are the answer to Houston’s cornerback woes, they’re asking the wrong question. While Roby is a very solid cornerback, Conley is certainly not the sort of game-changer Houston needs (assuming the Texans even want to re-sign him). As we’ve seen this year, behind those two men are a raft of benchwarmers conscripted into starting roles. Houston desperately needs an upgrade at corner.
Enter William Jackson III.
While Jackson’s not a household name yet, primarily due to playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, he has huge upside. In 2017, he set the mark for sixth highest defensive grade for a second year player on PFF since 2011. The market isn’t overflowing with Pro Bowl cornerbacks, Houston is going to have to take a leap of faith on one, and as history will show (Johnathan Joseph), getting a solid corner from the Bengals could go a long way to bringing some stability to the cornerback group.
- Houston Texans Re-Sign Jadeveon Clowney.
With the stench of Bill O’Brien slowly fading away, Clowney’s value dropping, and the monster run defender’s familiarity with the Texans’ defense, re-pairing Clowney with J.J. Watt would go a long way to fixing Houston’s run defense and rebuilding faith with the fanbase.
The funny thing about Clowney is that he’s always been victimized by his lower sack totals. As if the play that put him on the map was a sack.
Far too many people try to pigeonhole Clowney as a pass rusher when we all know where he excels is the run game. Just ask Taylor Lewan. Having Clowney back on the defense, with an upgraded cornerback room and a better defensive tackle (see below), would immediately and dramatically improve Houston’s historically bad 2020 run defense.
- Houston Texans Trade Nick Martin, Sign Corey Linsley.
This is kind of a twofer... so consider this a bonus.
Let’s face it, Martin has yet to live up to the pedigree or hype he had coming out of Notre Dame. His big bro has done more for the ailing Dallas Cowboys over the years than Nick ever will for Houston. By shipping him out to a team looking for a solid center and getting a defensive lineman, Houston clears the way to sign the best center available in free agency, Corey Linsley.
The Packers’ center has helped Aaron Rodgers regain some of his former glory this year, racking up a PFF grade of 90.3 in the process. Along the way, Linsley has only given up a single sack. For reference, Martin is currently putting up a grade of 57.2. Imagine the Texans’ line with Linsley, Onwenu, and Tunsil.
There are four out-of-this-world roster improvement predictions that most likely will never happen. But with nothing good to look forward to this weekend, all we can do is fantasize about better things to come.
What do you think? Would you go for these moves? Make others? Clean house first and then rebuild?