As the Houston Texans are currently constructed, they have 26 players under contract for next season, and face $22 million in dead cap space. They have talent and youth issues, as they sit at 2-9. If free agency and cap space doesn’t matter, which players do you want to see from this roster on the roster next season?
This was the question I asked the masthead for this week’s groupthink. These are our responses:
You can’t cast too wide of a net. Minimizing this down to players on free agent contracts, or cap space, or anything else, diminishes the situation. There are only a few players we’d like to see on this team again next year.
Defensively, it’s Kamu Gruiger-Hill, the only competent linebacker on the roster, their interior combination of Ross Blacklock, Roy Lopez, and Maliek Collins, who are the strength of the defense, Justin Reid, although his time in Houston is coming to an end where he will excel as a pure single high safety instead of being jostled around, slot corner Tavierre Thomas, who has played well the last three weeks, and Jonathan Greenard, who can be the third best player on a great front seven, and is looking more and more like Whitney Mercilus with each passing day. The rest can shove it.
Offensively, it’s Tytus Howard, Nico Collins, and Brevin Jordan. That’s it. The entire offensive line is a wreck. Even with a kind of new playcaller, and position coach, they still can’t pull off the most menial tasks. Laremy Tunsil was a desperate move by a desperate head coach turned general manager, and he should be traded next offseason. Chris Conley, Danny Amendola, etc, all struggle to beat man coverage, and don’t do anything well. Paying old veteran running backs to eventually pick up a 2024 seventh round pick, the equivalent of a boot found in a shark’s stomach, was a terrible decision last year, and still is now. Open the windows and sign some UDFAs next year. And at quarterback, Tyrod Taylor hasn’t found average since coming back from injury, and aside from one fluky game against New England, Davis Mills was unplayable.
Punter Cam Johnston was the third best Caserio signing. Despite the fake-fake punt catastrophe, he’s been a great punter this year.
That’s 12 of the 53 that I’d want back for 2022. These are dark days indeed.
Honestly, there aren’t many players I would really want to see back next season, especially the way this team is constructed. Long snapper Jon Weeks and the Punter Cam Johnson are the two I would most keep on this team…tells you a lot, doesn’t it?
There is some talent ondefense. Greenard is showing potential. Reid, presuming the team culture hasn’t napalmed that bridge, and Grugier-Hill would be worth keeping. Lopez is showing signs of competency, and since he is an actual rookie playing, I would be good keeping him for ‘22.
Other than that, if the team could go on a massive 20th century communist authoritarian purge of the roster, shipping everyone and anyone else out, I would be perfectly fine with that. Especially on offense. Even Cooks and Tunsil. The offense is shaping up to be perhaps the worst in Texans‘ history. May as well wipe the slate clean and start anew. At least there would be a reason for optimism.
Or, we could, you know, purge the McEasterby, but we are talking hypotheticals…not solving the team’s core problems.
The man in me wants to see these players set free to pursue their NFL dreams somewhere free of the McEasterby Effect. Reid, Jonathan Greenard, Cooks, Collins, Zach Cunningham, and all the rest deserve a chance to compete for a championship. But, no way that happens here as long as the status quo remains and toxic positivity is more important than actually assembling a professional football team.
“The Texans organization is known for wasting players’ careers.” Andre Johnson
The fan in me wants all those players to remain as Nick Caserio overcomes the McEasterby Effect and actually lives up to HIS potential as a leader, wrests control of the franchise from Grima Wormtongue and brings in some other key free agents to compliment a great draft haul enhanced by picks gained in a glorious Deshaun Watson trade.
Reality is, unless no other team will have them, every one of these players is more than likely secretly praying to make it through the season without an injury so their agent can get them a better gig for 2022. If the choice is to get paid the league minimum to put up with the Houston Dysfunctions, or go get a real job, you can’t blame anyone for taking Cal’s money to play a kid’s game. But, if the choice is to stay in H-Town or go make the same pay with a franchise that’s actually operating like a professional sports organization, then ...BYE...
This is in part a trick question. Because if cap space isn’t in question I would keep a lot of these guys as very expensive role players to go behind the new starters this team needs.
Semantics aside, on the defensive line you’d keep Blacklock to pair with Collins as a pass rushing duo. Houston’s favorite Lopez obviously has played his way into a rotational role leaving room for just a true space eating nose to round out the interior group and improve the run defense. At edge Greenard is obvious and in a perfect world Jacob Martin would only get snaps on third down where he could truly pin his ears back and go after the passer. At linebacker Gruiger-Hill would be the keeper with perhaps Neville Hewitt as a depth piece leaving room for a true Mike to be found elsewhere. As for the backend this is where the slate could be wiped clean and I wouldn’t even bat an eyelash. I’m not gonna play this pretend world where Justin Reid stays which leaves Terrance Mitchell and Tavierre Thomas as the bottom depth corners.
As for offense this is where things get tricky. Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Brevin Jordan, Laremy Tunsil, Tytus Howard, and Charlie Heck as a swing tackle are the only ones I’d keep. This entire interior of the offensive line needs to get shipped out. At this point quarterback could be played by anyone and I’d just shrug before going along with it.