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Grading The Texans’ 2021 So Far

Houston has been dubbed “the single biggest loser of the offseason.”

Buffalo Bills v Cleveland Browns Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

New Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio might just be the busiest man in all of professional sports right now. At last count, the Houston Texans have added 32 new players to the roster. How in the world a team that was over the cap coming into the offseason managed to fit all these contracts under the cap remains to be seen, but that’s a discussion for another day.

The signings are coming so fast you literally need a score card to keep up. From the looks of things, Caserio shows no signs of stopping. While all this activity does disprove the notion that no NFL free agent would want to come play for the perpetually wrecking train that is the modern day Houston Texans, it hasn’t done much else. At least not much else to right the ship.

This time of year always brings articles across the internet grading free agency, in both moves made and a team’s overall effort. So far, the internet is not impressed with Nick Caserio as Houston’s general manager. Some examples are below

The Complex, a website covering all manner of entertainment, did a winners & losers of NFL Free Agency piece recently. Here’s what they had to say about the Texans.

Loser: Houston Texans

The Houston Texans were massive losers in the first week of free agency thanks to questionable signings across the roster. It was shocking to see any team rushing to ink borderline NFL talent like Houston did.

Instead of acquiring difference-makers, getting an old running back in Mark Ingram and fliers like Andre Roberts, Donte Moncrief and Pharaoh Brown fail to move the needle. The defense might see a small bump if their slew of one-year signings have career years but there’s too many ifs. This roster is destined for a top-five pick in 2022 even if Deshaun Watson plays for the franchise.

With little cap flexibility and draft assets for 2021, the Texans look rudderless even under a new set of decision-makers in place. They’re the single biggest loser of the offseason thus far.

On the SB Nation main page, things weren’t any rosier for the battle red faithful.

SB Nation: Texans Use Free Agency To Become Even Bigger Dumpster Fire

This is a team that finished 10-6 in 2019, and won a damn playoff game. They only got stopped by eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City. The consensus following the season was that Houston was on the right track, they just needed more superstars to takr the team to the next level.

Instead we’re looking at the least talented roster in the NFL finding a way to get even worse, while spending almost all its available free agency money. More can, and will be freed up with cuts — but at this point it’s impossible to believe the Texans will either pursue top free agents, or believe there will be enough talent out there for the team to truly upgrade in the final days.

Pro Football Focus, often the ‘level head’ among NFL news outlets, shied away from the hyperbole yet stuck to the vision of no vision in H-Town.

Houston Texans (grade): Below Average

The Houston Texans have had one of the most unusual free agency periods in recent memory, throwing a lot at the wall in terms of low-level signings in the hope that they can remake the roster without risking a swing and a miss on the highest-profile free agents.

As much as there is a case that Houston’s roster was so bad that almost any of these signings stands a good chance of upgrading a position, it also has to be acknowledged that the team is badly in need of elite talent.

Given the sheer volume of turnover, it’s difficult to see this as a massively improved team.

One of the more optimistic oculars came from CBS Sports, who gave the Texans a “C” grade.

Lots of moves, but not a whole lot of substance. Lawson could prove to be a quality edge rusher, Lindsay is an exciting potential No. 1 RB alongside Ingram, and Grugier-Hill and Cannon offer a fair amount of upside as starters, but not even the whole bunch collectively equals a premium addition.

While the bread and butter of Bill Belichick’s reign in New England has been to have one name player and cast of nameless thousands supporting him, which often led to players making a name for themselves while playing for the Patriots, it’s unclear if Nick Caserio duplicate that recipe in Houston. More importantly, can Caserio do it if forced to replace Deshaun Watson with Tyrod Taylor? The Texans lost seven games by a touchdown or less last season. If the defense could have given up one less touchdown a game, 2020 would have seen Houston ending the season at 11-5. OF course, that was predicated on the magic offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and Watson pulled off time and again. Without Watson, J.J. Watt, and no player, new or old, even remotely close to replacing those two, can this newly remodeled Texans roster compete in 2021?

If you’re the overly optimistic type, the answer is yes until proven otherwise. If you’re the pessimistic type, you’re already looking forward to 2022.

If you’re the pragmatist in the bunch, odds are you’re seeing the logic of Nick Caserio’s moves as a purposeful tank of the 2021 season in order to better position the team for a quick rebuild next offseason when Houston will have more cap space, more draft picks, and more clarity on what’s happening under center.

What do you think? What grade are you giving the 2021 Houston Texans offseason?


Grade the Texans’ 2021 performance thus far.

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