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2022 NFL Free Agency: Three Players The Texans Should Target

Three names the Texans should contact once March comes running around.

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84)

With the 2021 season coming to an end, most Texans fans are already looking ahead to 2022. It’s been a rough two years in Houston, and while the rebuild continues, there are still some upcoming events to look forward to. The Texans need help at various positions, and there are some intriguing names that will be available in just a few weeks. I’ve identified three players that would be a good fit for this team, though not all may be within reach.

Cordarrelle Patterson, RB

Patterson is wrapping up a great campaign in Atlanta, where he signed for only $3 million at the beginning of the year. Although Patterson is listed as a running back, he can realistically play about three or four positions. Patterson was a great special teamer in the past, but never found much of a role in any offense. However, things have changed in 2021.

He has career-highs in almost every major category, accounting for 1,588 total yards (rushing, receiving, and returning) heading into the final week of the season. Despite being close to 31 years old, he looks no different than many rookies and is finally getting the credit he deserves. Patterson will be a hot name on the market, and could easily be worth twice as much compared to the previous offseason.

After trading Mark Ingram at the deadline, Houston’s rushing attack has been uninspiring. Even with Rex Burkhead having a breakout game against the Chargers, it appears to be too little, too late. Patterson is one of the NFL’s most versatile players and could give the Texans a serious spark.

Sammy Watkins, WR

Watkins is a player who appears to be past his prime, but can still be consistent in the right setting. The former Clemson standout was taken fourth overall in the 2014 NFL Draft; while many believe he didn’t live up to expectations, the time for that debate is over. Watkins is now at a point in his career where he simply wants an opportunity to be on the field, and the Texans are in a position to do just that.

Even though the current receiver room in Houston isn’t terrible, there’s a noticeable drop-off after Brandin Cooks. Nico Collins has shown flashes of promise, but he may need to continue developing before taking on a larger role. Watkins could not only be a mentor to a player like Collins; he would also give more stability to the position group in general. If he can step in and be a clear-cut WR2 or WR3 or a year, that simple service alone would be greatly appreciated. In ten games with the Ravens this season, Watkins caught 27 passes for 394 yards and a touchdown. These stats are nothing to write home about, but it’s enough to earn him another shot at the pro level.

Jason Verrett, CB

Verrett will probably be the most surprising name here, which is totally understandable. He’s barely seen the field the past four seasons due to a long stretch of unfortunate injuries. Although signing someone with such a shaky past may seem like a bad move, the Texans could be stumbling upon a gem.

In 2020, which was the healthiest Verrett had been since 2015, he surprised everyone by having a career year. Through 13 games, he recorded 60 tackles (50 solo), seven pass deflections, and two interceptions. Verrett shouldn’t draw much attention in the market and will likely be signed to a very cheap deal. Additionally, he’s dealt with some serious adversity; that could make him a key figure in the locker room. There’s no reason for the Texans not to jump on this opportunity. They won’t be giving up much even if it fails.