The Houston Texans are in a good position moving into the 2023 season. They have a new coaching staff, free agent money to spend, and a lot of draft capital the next two seasons. Yet, at a certain point the concept of opportunity costs come into play. If you spend money on one position then that’s money that can’t be spent elsewhere. The Texans need help at nearly every position and yet there is no way to sign players at every position.
Tight end is really no different. They really only have two prominent tight ends on the roster in Teagan Quitoriano and Brevin Jordan. Both have flashed some in the past, but neither is established as a frontline tight end. In fact, there are whispers that Jordan could be a camp casualty if things don’t turn around for him.
So, the idea of signing a free agent sounds like a solid plan. After all, if you upgrade at tight end then the entire passing attack could become more dynamic. Of course, that depends on what is available, what it will cost, and how tight end fits around the other priorities on the roster. So, they could wind up with one of these guys or none depending on how everything shakes out.
Projected Contract: 4 years, $58 million
Free agency is the same at every position. You often pay premium prices for players that aren’t premium players. Schultz caught 57 balls this past season and has been a consistent target, but he is at least a tier below guys like Travis Kelce and George Kittle. The question always is whether he can look elite in another system. I just don’t think he’s a Pro Bowl-level tight end and he really has to be at that price.
Possible Contract: 3 years, $38.25 million
Engram might be the closest thing to a three down tight end on the free agency board. He isn’t a great run or pass blocker, but neither is a glaring weakness either. He put up impressive numbers in Jacksonville last season (73 catcher, 766 yards, 4 TD) so he could be a very dynamic part of the passing game. Again, the question would be whether this the absolute best way to spend nearly $13 million per season.
Possible Contract: 1 year, $11 million
Engram signed a similar contract in Jacksonville last year. Gesicki just wasn’t a fit in Mike McDaniel’s vertical passing game. So, his 32 catches probably aren’t indicative of what he is capable of doing. The trouble with Gesicki is that he grades out as a bad run blocker and iffy pass blocker. So, he would only be a viable tight end in passing situations. That’s a lot of money to pay for a part-time player.
The Final Verdict
We can’t forget about Jordan Akins. Unfortunately, he did not rate among the top 101 free agents according to PFF or the top 51 guys according to NFL.com. He did catch 37 balls for 495 yards and five touchdowns. So, maybe Bobby Slowik could use him more creatively than Pep Hamilton did and coax borderline Pro Bowl performance from him for less than the guys above.
As Lance Zierlein told us, this draft is deep in tight ends. So, adding one or two new tight ends in the draft is another possibility. The most likely scenario has Akins coming back and Caserio adding another tight end in the draft. However, you can never rule out the Texans reaching an agreement with one of the guys above.