Unless Houston Texans head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien is under some mandate from team owner Cal McNair to not spend anymore of the estimated $35 million in cap space they have remaining, a smart front office would be looking hard at continuing to improve a roster that, quite honestly, has gotten worse over the last month. Heading into the 2020 offseason, the Texans needed to address the pass defense, and they needed to consider adding either a running back, wide receiver, or both.
In terms of the pass defense, re-signing Bradley Roby was a two steps forward move, but re-signing Vernon Hargreaves was a one step back offset. So far, the Texans have accomplished nothing in regards to improving the pass rush.
Giving away DeAndre Hopkins radically lowered the team’s overall talent level and replacing him with David Johnson and Randall Cobb didn’t really do anything to meaningfully counter that drop.
However, there are still players sitting on the couch right now (and not just because of local Shelter In Place rules), waiting for a phone call. Thanks to ESPN, we have a handy list of guys we can look at as we try to stop the death spiral of Texans fandom due to O’Brien’s historically horrific trade resume. Here’s a few Houston might consider signing:
File this in the “ain’t never gonna happen” bin, but here’s why it would make sense: Clowney already knows Houston’s system, the fact that he hasn’t found the payday he’s been looking for might make him agreeable to a more team-friendly contract, and his fellow Houston defenders would welcome him back with open arms.
Of course, there’s just about zero chance it happens. Moving on...
Bringing in another ‘tweener linebacker/defensive end who can get to the quarterback to pair with Whitney Mercilus makes a lot of sense. Particularly when that player had a better 2019 than Mercilus did and would be cheaper. Over his career, Golden has 29 sacks and 39 tackles for loss. That’s without playing in a defense that features J.J. Watt.
On the downside, Golden has an injury history that makes his future uncertain, but in today’s NFL, who doesn’t?
This man was an absolute terror for the Minnesota Vikings, notching 74.5 sacks over his career, but then took a season off to work on his mental health. Kudos to him for recognizing that need and doing so, but unfortunately this might generate a red flag for new potential employers. Still, Griffen presumably has plenty left in the tank, and the wily veteran would do well to bridge the gap for Houston while younger players such as Duke Ejiofor and Charles Omenihu get more reps under their belts and continue to develop.
Let’s face it: Roby, Hargreaves and Gareon Conley are hardly a Pro Bowl secondary in the making. While Roby and Conley showed flashes in 2019, Hargreaves didn’t and in the end flashes don’t prevent 300-yard passing games.
While Ryan certainly isn’t the second coming of Deion Sanders, he’d immediately become CB1 on the Texans. Plus, taking a Titan away is always a bonus.
With no suitors lining up to sign Hyde, bringing him back makes a lot of sense. He fit well in O’Brien’s archaic run-up-the-middle-on-every-first-down offense, had success early on, and might have even more as Houston’s offensive line continues to improve and someone not named Bill O’Brien is finally allowed to call the plays. If nothing else, Hyde provides great insurance for the inevitable moment when Houston’s biggest offseason investment, David Johnson, fails to produce positive rushing yards on average.
This is also a major long shot, specifically due to his involvement with the national anthem/kneeling dust-up a while back. However, he’s a solid playmaker, and his younger brother, Justin Reid, is already a star in the Texans’ defense. With J-Reid stumping for E-Reid, maybe the two of them can finally play alongside one another and shore up a safety group that’s having to pull more than their own weight taking care of what the cornerbacks are giving up.
Six viable candidates to be the best Houston Texan they can be. Which of these options do you like? Have someone else you want Houston to snatch up?