I know, I know, I know, it’s impossible to really have any sort of actual football discussion regarding this completely terrible and stupid football team, but, that being said, who is one free agent you really want to see the Texans target this offseason?
This was the question I asked the masthead. These are their responses:
Tebow’s free now. Maybe Assistant Character Coach?
A free agent that I would want the Texans to pursue? A free agent that I would want the Texans to pursue...hmmm...This question might have seemed so much easier immediately after Week 17. Certainly there is no shortage of problem areas for the Texans. Assuming that the team would make some very significant cuts to free up cap space, and given the lack of any significant draft capital, I would say that the team should look to the secondary and or defensive line for free agent help. Given that the projected dip in the salary cap would leave some decent talent on the market that the Texans wouldn’t have to overpay for, I would have expected a run on either a corner like William Jackson III or a defensive lineman like Shelby Harris. Might cost some money, but neither would completely break the bank in this market, and the defense needs some serious help just to get to “not suck”. Also, you could convince me that the Texans should just resign Will Fuller, since he has good chemistry with Deshaun Watson.
HOWEVER, since the off-season began, the Texans have somehow managed to make a bad situation worse. What free agent in their right mind, or even if they have had a couple of Jack Daniels appetizers before a liquid lunch of martinis and Shiner Bocks, would even consider the Texans unless they are in dire straits? I am sure that even the most devout of Christians in the league will avoid the Sodom and Gomorrah that is this team unless they had no other choice. After seeing how this franchise turned off high character/high performing players like Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt, coupled with what they did to DeAndre Hopkins, Duane Brown and Jadeveon Clowney, what would any other player think? I suppose if the team can sign some exec/individual/political operative that could out-weasel, out-scheme and out-right purge the Easterby, there might be hope, but I think even D.C. sewer rats like Karl Rove or Rahm Emanuel would be “No thanks. This team is way too messed up for me.”
I have little hope of any significant free agent signing as long as the Jack Easterby regime is in place. If they get someone, it is probably because the team overpaid and/or that player is desperate and facing the end of the (career) road. Perhaps Nick Caserio will surprise, but with Easterby in a key position of power, it will probably not be a good surprise.
Dalvin Tomlinson from the New York Giants should be a primary target. He is known for his run defense but had a career year last year pressuring the pocket. He had 3.5 sacks the past two seasons and was the lynchpin on an above average Giants defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants try to keep him as he pairs well with Leonard Williams, but Tomlinson would be a perfect scheme fit in the biggest hole on this team.
I’m gonna preface what I say with what I believe our 2020 offseason is gonna look like: Deshaun Watson is going to be traded for an avalanche of picks in the 2021 and 2022 draft, tons of players on the Texans will be released to clear up cap room, and we’ll use our 2021 draft picks to select some important skill position players, like quarterback. 2021 will not be about winning at all, just evaluating what young talent we have, hoping that whatever quarterback we take shows some ability, and preparing for 2022. It’s tank time.
With all that being said, I think the Texans should target this free agency looking for good players that won’t demand the top dollar. We won’t be good next year, so we shouldn’t spend too much unless a player really deserves that big paycheck (there are a couple I think are worth it).
Because of this, my top targets for the Texans are:
1. WR Tim Patrick
2. S Rayshawn Jenkins
3. OG Brandon Scherff/Forrest Lamp/Dan Feeney
WR Tim Patrick is exactly what I’m looking for: a great player that shouldn’t demand a big contract. Tim Patrick is a giant receiver with speed and hands to boot. He can do everything Fells/Akins/Warring do on the receiving end and so much more. He can be wide receiver two if we can’t get back Fuller or end up trading/releasing Cooks.
Finding an elite safety is also worth spending big at, and Justin Simmons and John Johnson III are worth it. However, I don’t think Rayshawn Jenkins will demand quite as much as they will, and he has the talent to be just as good. He’s worth pursuing.
Brandon Scherff is one of the few big names I’m willing to go after. He’s an amazing guard that would lock down that spot for years. If you don’t wanna reach for the top of the shelf, though, Forrest Lamp or Dan Feeney can end up coming into form here. I have a good feeling about Dan Feeney for some reason, something tells me he’ll end up being really good. Maybe it’s his mustache + mullet combo. At least one is getting an extension from the Chargers, though.
There are three different offseasons for the Houston Texans. The one where they trade Deshaun Watson before the 2021 NFL Draft, the one where they trade Watson during the season or next year, and the one where they keep Watson and he ends up playing anyways.
Because of this, this offseason is impossible to look at with any sort of idea or clarity. It’s a swamp. It’s either trade the weight for draft capital, or release veterans to create enough cap space to plunge the holes.
One of the few players I like if Houston rebuilds for the next two seasons, or keeps Watson and tries to compete this year is Carl Lawson from Cincinnati. He’s a fine run defender. He was their best pass rusher on an underwhelming and disappointing defensive line, and, most importantly, he has a staple pass rush move. His long arm is sick. It’s a legitimate move that can win enough one v. one matchups to make his addition worth it. This move is so good it would give us at least something to watch and enjoy as Houston goes through a Cleveland Browns Trust the Process rebuild, or tries to compete in a J.J. Wattless world.