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Bill Barnwell: Five Offseason Moves For The Texans

A professional football man does some professional football writing about your favorite professional football team.

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL offseason is starting to whimper. Players like Prince Amukamara have been cut, Everson Griffen declined his contract option with Minnesota to become a free agent. No one has any idea where any of these quarterbacks are going to go.

Before things come to fruition, there is speculation, which of course means offseason previewing. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote the thing he writes every offseason, where he comes up with five offseason moves for every team.

The five he came up with for the Texans are replacing D.J. Reader, rebuilding at cornerback, stop trading away draft picks (BAZINGA), signing Laremy Tunsil to an extension, and picking up Deshaun Watson’s fifth year option before signing him to an extension.

Here’s a preview of what Barnwell had to say:

Projected 2020 cap space: $65.9 million

1. Replace D.J. Reader. The Texans unearthed a valuable defensive lineman in the fifth round of the 2016 draft with Reader, who has been able to both clog running lanes and occasionally pressure opposing quarterbacks. The 347-pound tackle more than doubled his career total by knocking down opposing quarterbacks 13 times in 2019 and posted an 8.7% pass rush win rate, which is above average for nose tackles.

Bill O’Brien & Co. don’t seem inclined to bring back Reader, who will likely draw a deal in excess of $11 million per season. With needs elsewhere on the roster and plenty of contracts to be signed this offseason, the Texans could pursue a cheaper option on the interior. Patriots defensive tackle Danny Shelton could be a target in free agency, and Houston could use one of its two fourth-round draft picks to go after a bigger body.

5. Pick up Deshaun Watson’s fifth-year option and sign him to an extension. One trade that has worked out for the Texans, of course, is moving up to grab their superstar quarterback in the 2017 draft. They obviously will pick up Watson’s fifth-year option, and with stars such as Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott about to sign new deals, his price is only going to go up.

Last year’s fourth-year quarterbacks established Watson’s market. Carson Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million deal, while Jared Goff waited two months and signed a four-year, $134 million contract. Watson’s deal should come in somewhere around four years and $140 million.

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