We all know Houston doesn’t have the stockpile of draft capital and cap space they had last year. They don’t necessarily have a great amount of resources to trade either. With that in mind, the team is going to have to be surgical in the roster moves, knowing they can’t afford to go all in on another Vernon Hargreaves III or Ed Reed.
If you could take the wheel and steer the Texans to pick up one player this offseason, who would it be and how would you expect that player to improve the team’s chances in 2020?
I need to watch more film, and I don’t want to get too invested in anything because you never know who actually becomes a free agent since the NFL is designed to limit player movement, but all that being said: Arik Armstead is the guy who is most interesting to me so far. He can rush from the interior or exterior. He is a scheme neutral player who can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. He’s a great at running stunts and is a plus run defender. Most importantly, he fits the Jadeveon Clowney mold of a player who almost makes a ton of BIG plays but never quite makes them.
Signing Armstead would be almost like Clowney was never traded. The contract projection so far for him is five years and $80 million or so, which isn’t a bad deal at all for him. The only big concern is you’re betting on the outlier.
I’m going with Yannick Ngakoue, even though he is a bit more limited in what roles he can play.
That said, he’s just such a beast off the edge. He gets sacks, causes hurries, and he forces turnovers. I don’t think anybody else available is as disruptive as he is.
Plus, we’d take him from the Jaguars, and we’d line him up twice a year to play them. It’s fair to say Ngakoue has not enjoyed his stay in sunny Florida, so that might be some good motivation right there.
There are quite a few guys I’d love to see in Battle Red next season, but my #1 (pipe) dream is Shaq Barrett. He’s young, hungry, phenomenally talented, and would be a great protege for J.J. Watt. Imagine what Houston’s defense would have looked like last year with Barrett’s 19.5 sacks added to the mix. The Texans collectively took the opposing QB down 31 times in 2019, landing them in the 24th spot in the league; adding Barrett’s 19.5 would have put them in 4th place.
While we can debate whether Barrett would have had the sort of production in H-Town that he did in Tampa Bay, his presence alone would have generated more opportunities for guys like Whitney Mercilus, Benardrick McKinney and D.J. Reader to add to their QB hits and takedowns. Not to mention what it would have done for Houston’s ailing secondary.
It’s probably a long shot, but honestly, Tampa Bay isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If a team is going to waste Barrett’s prime years, it might as well be Houston.
Oh, and Barrett could wear #90, so my Mario Williams and Jadeveon Clowney jerseys wouldn’t be a total waste.
I’d like to see the Texans go after CB Darius Slay. I’m not sure exactly what is left in the war chest for making any trades, but fixing the secondary should be a priority. While would likely be easier to bolster the pass rush, I’m less inclined to invest in the front seven when NFL officiating allows egregious holding by offensive linemen in the league’s efforts to protect QBs and increase scoring.
When Houston had Watt, Clowney and Mercilus lined up, they still rarely got enough pressure to make a difference, and the better quarterbacks were smart enough to get rid of the ball to live another day. I say invest on the back end to create a better chance of coverage sacks once the protection finally does break down with whomever is in the trenches.
I would like to see the Texans make a serious offer to Chris Jones. If we keep Reader, he’s more than capable of playing the end spot opposite J.J. Jones is productive as both a pass rusher and a run stopper. Additionally, we’ve already decided to pay Mercilus. The problem is that Mercilus seems to be unable to consistently establish a rush threat on his own. With J.J. and Jones taking up blockers and adding additional threats, Mercilus could be extremely effective. Our secondary isn’t great, and this would be one way of improving it without having to dump a ton of money into it.
There you have it. From the Masthead’s lips to William O’Brien’s ears, the most desired roster additions the Texans can make this offseason. The consensus is almost unanimous regarding the d-line, though Capt Ron makes a great point regarding all the talent Houston used to have there.
Who sits atop your Texans wish list? Let us know the player you’re (Chris) Jones’ing for in the comments.