Last year, as mentioned recently, was arguably the worst offseason in Houston Texans history. The jury was still out yesterday morning as to what this off-season would shape up to be in the coming days and weeks. However, after a flurry of moves in the last 24 hours, the picture is coming into focus.
When there’s a continuance of something, it can get saddled with terms like “the sequel” or “part II” or some such nomenclature than conveys the nature of more of the same.
When you tack on “2.0” the insinuation is that this is similar, yet “new & improved”.
Hence the title of this post, Tankathon 2.0
Since the beginning of the hypocritically named “legal tampering period” of NFL free agency began less than two days ago, Nick Caserio and the Houston Texans have done a pile of deals with players that scream “commitment to mediocrity”.
While resigning defensive tackle Maliek Collins was a smart move, bringing in A.J. Cann makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Houston already had a stockpile of not so good offensive linemen, why sign more? And why give a below average player from a very bad offensive line a wheelbarrow full of money?
A.J. Cann Texans deal: three years, $8.5M base value, $10.5M max value, $4.5M gtd, $2M signing bonus, salaries $1.5M (fully gtd), $3.5M ($1M gtd), up to $500K in per games active roster bonus annual, $250K workout bonus annual, $1M annual playtime incentive— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 15, 2022
Matt “Knower of Offensive Line Things” Weston
Cann never played above below average while he was in Jacksonville, went into every offseason about to be cut, and now, the Texans have paid a premium to make him a day one free agent.
To make matters worse, they inexpilicably re-signed Justin Britt. And, Jimmy Morrissey, Antony Auclair and Pharaoh Brown. Aside from Collins, none of those others are the answer to the burning question: how does this team become competitive?
Justin Britt two years, $9 million with max value of $10.5 million, per a league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 15, 2022
Texans signing tight end Pharaoh Brown to one-year, $3 million fully guaranteed, $1 million signing bonus, $2 million guaranteed salary, $500,000 in per game active roster bonuses, playtime incentive to reach up to $4 million possibly according to league source @PFN365— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 15, 2022
Then they re-signed Terrance Brooks, one of the guys responsible for executing an historically bad defensive backfield performance last season. And Desmond King II, the guy who earned a 53.0 overall PFF grade last year. Thankfully, that was better than Brooks’ 51.8 overall score.
Keeping Laremy Tunsil around should certainly help the offensive line. However, if you partner Tunsil with guys like Cann and Britt, well, it doesn’t take a professional defensive coordinator to know where the holes in the Houston offensive line will spring leaks for hungry pass rushers and run stoppers.
As we continue to wait on just what bounty the Deshaun Watson trade nets the team, it’s quickly becoming apparent Caserio is far more interested in 2023 than 2022 at this juncture. Will the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons or New Orleans Saints land a quarterback who can go head-to-head against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady? We’ll hopefully find out later today.
But, that still opens a raft of questions.
Is Lovie Smith a lame duck head coach?
Is he simply a placeholder while Caserio kicks the roster can down the road? With so many one and two years deals getting done, it sure screams “shades of 2022” and “Lovie Smith and the Houston Texans part ways” next off-season.
Will Davis Mills continue to get “prove yourself” snaps or will Houston grab another young gun or veteran castoff?
Sure, he’s not likely the second coming of Peyton Manning, but consistency breeds growth and shuffling him in and out of the starting lineup stunts it.
How much further can the Houston Texans fan base erode before the XFL’s Houston Roughnecks are more popular in H-Town proper?
The answer to this is probably “a lot further”, especially since the XFL is still riding shotgun on the struggle bus. But, the mass exodus of fans last season isn’t likely to slow, much less reverse itself if Caserio and company put yet another bottom of the league barrel product on the field wrapped in a toxic positivity social media scheme.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. As mentioned, keeping Collins and Tunsil is definitely a step in the right direction. Keeping Brandin Cooks is another one, but that remains to be seen.
Signing Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was yet another good move. Like this:
Pass Rush of the Day: Speed Chop Counter Spin Icepick by @OgboOkoronkwo #DLIsBringingTheEnergy pic.twitter.com/8jYxwZfY4n— Willie Cashmore (@WillieCashmore) March 7, 2021
As was keeping Kevin Pierre-Louis. The defensive front seven is actually shaping up decently. Now, if Caserio can do the same with the offensive line (outlook: not good), running game (outlook: ghosted), secondary (outlook: threat level cringe) and nail the Watson trade, 2022 might stand on it’s own two feet, instead of just lingering as 2021 Tankathon 2.0.