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BRB Group Think: Should the Texans Consider Signing Free Agent Tackle Trent Brown?

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In need of offensive line help, should the Houston Texans consider Patriots free agent tackle Trent Brown?

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams
A b s o l u t e U n i t
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Trent Brown is an enormous human being. He stands six feet, eight inches tall and is apparently the heaviest player in the NFL, tipping the scale at 380 pounds. After joining the New England Patriots via trade with the San Francisco prior to the 2018 season, Brown went on to start all sixteen regular season games en route to yet another Patriots Super Bowl win.

Should the Houston Texans kick the tires on Brown? A full year after they reportedly did all they could to land Nate Solder, the very player Brown replaced? I put the question to the group. Let’s see what the BRB writers had to say:

Chris:

The fact that Trent Brown weighs 380 pounds and had Tom Brady (who gets rid of the ball quickly) as his QB would seem to set up quite the opposite situation in Houston. Imagine Deshaun Watson extending plays while Brown’s ol’ Brontosaurus arse huffs in circles trying to keep #4 from getting splattered.

That said, considering Brown will be only 26 going into next season - and considering, you know, the Patriots connections - you have to believe the Texans will at least kick the tires on him, whether we like it or not. I’m fine with Houston sniffing around a deal, but if it’s going to be for top-tier free agent money, that’s a big pass from me.

If he’s a guy you can get after the first couple of hyper-lucrative free agency phases have passed, I’d be much more interested. We already know from Bill O’Brien era history that offensive linemen tend to get worse when they come to the Texans, so I’d be wary if the price is high (or even if it’s not). Proceed with caution.

Matt Burnham:

I think he’s a huge brick wall that will make it incredibly difficult to plunge through. But I worry that he can be taken to school by some quicker and more athletic linemen, as Brown weighs more than anyone else in the NFL.

For an offensive line that was as bad as the Texans, I think picking him up would be worthwhile. But Brown can’t be your best lineman or else you’ll still be in trouble. And you’re right, Watson isn’t going to get the ball out quick like Brady, so I’m just imagining in my head Brown getting worked as the play develops.

A little concerning, but worth a one-year type of deal if it was possible (it’s not).

Rivers McCown:

Here is an equation I will take to the bank in free agency: Dante Scarnecchia’s linemen are never going to look as good as they did for him.

I certainly don’t mind Brown and would not bemoan his addition in so much as Julien Davenport should not be guaranteed a job in 2019. But it’s hard for me to imagine that paying Brown top of the market tackle money will be anything near a good value.

BFmf’nD:

Jeff Allen. Zach Fulton. Senio Kelemete. All three of these players had some level of success with previous teams before signing with the Houston Texans, where they have not played nearly as well as expected.

Until something different happens with the offensive scheme and the offensive line coaching, signing a free agent offensive lineman is merely rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The coaching staff jerking around Julien Davenport did far more damage to the offensive line than Davenport’s play.

Simply put, even if you believe Trent Brown is a good match for the Texans - and I’m firmly in the camp that he is not - there is no reason to believe he’ll play nearly as well for the Texans as he did for the Patriots. That might and probably would be an upgrade over Davenport, but it would come at a hefty cost.

Matt Weston:

Trent Brown was great last year playing for the New England Patriots. Trent Brown probably wouldn’t be great playing for the Houston Texans.

His greatest strength in New England was his size. No one could get around him quick enough to pressure Brady, who released the ball before any edge rush could form; going through Brown isn’t an option. Blocking for a young quarterback who holds onto the ball in an offense that struggles to manufacture open throws is going to be a problem. Brown has slow feet, and he struggles blocking the second level. He wouldn’t be a lockdown pass blocker in Houston, and I am so tired of watching offensive linemen trip and fall at the second level. For the price tag it would take to sign Brown—who is the best tackle on the market—and the performance the Texans would get, isn’t worth it.

I still want Martinas Rankin to get an entire offseason to play RT, and I want them to sign a veteran to add depth. Houston could use their cap space to get a top guard like Roger Saffold to play left guard instead of chasing Brown. They could use a third or fourth round pick to add additional tackle talent.

Cornerback is too big of a hole. There are too many good interior rushers available this offseason. Overpaying for Brown would be better than signing Nate Solder last offseason would have been, but it still isn’t the best option Houston has to help its offensive line.

Mike Bullock:

There’s always an element of unknown when bringing in a free agent. The trick is finding the balance between the cap hit and being fine with what you don’t know. Factoring in the traffic cone level of play at left tackle for Houston since Duane Brown headed north and west, if Houston can bring Trent Brown in for deal that makes sense, I’d say do it. Give him Duane Brown’s old number...

But signing Brown is not a be-all, end-all move. Houston would still need to bring in at bare minimum another tackle and a guard. Even then, they should still probably draft one. With the attrition of players in today’s NFL, having seven quality offensive linemen is what it takes. Essentially everyone with the possible exception of Nick Martin from last year’s starters are second-stringers.

Bring Brown in, assume he’s a mountain to hide behind against opponents with no speedy edge rushers, and help him with a chip against the fastest rushers.

That being said, Ju’Wuan James and Cody Ford get my attention a lot faster as younger, cheaper players that could help in a more dynamic way.

What are your thoughts on Trent Brown’s free agency potential in Houston? Hit us up in the comments, and of course feel free to suggest any other free agent tackles you would like to see the Texans pursue.