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Red Zone Play: The Houston Texans’ Free Agency/NFL Draft Plan

Rumors? Speculation? Half-truths? What to make of the Texans’ actions or lack thereof in free agency so far?

Wild Card Round - Oakland Raiders v Houston Texans
Could one or both of these Texans be traded?
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

After watching the Houston Texans enter free agency with a pile of cash, a pile of needs, and a pile of opportunities, excitement was high. Yet they really haven’t done much at all, other than avoid overpaying for a safety, bringing in another good one, and losing perhaps their best defensive back. It’s hard not to sit back and wonder just what in the world is going on.

Theories abound as to what exactly “the plan” is deep inside the bowels of NRG Park, and rumors are also swirling in every corner of the sportsphere. Since there hasn’t been much in the way of exciting news out of the Texans’ press room so far this offseason, it stands to reason that speculation will run rampant. Nature abhors a vacuum – you know, the device that sucks as its only contribution to the world…

With that in mind, here are some rumors, speculation, and other flights of pure fantasy to discuss while we wait for the Texans to do something more than what they’ve already done.

The Houston Texans Trade Whitney Mercilus

Lots of people wonder if Merc either fell out of favor, failed to adapt to Romeo Crennel’s ever evolving defense, or just had an off year in 2019. With that comes the speculation that Houston will include Merc in a draft day trade of some sort. Let’s go down that rabbit hole:

Houston trades Whitney Mercilus and a 2nd round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for Marshal Yanda

Rumor: The Ravens love stellar linebackers, have a slippery quarterback, and an ever-present plan to stockpile draft picks. Yanda’s presence would immediately upgrade the core of the Texans’ offensive line and give struggling center Nick Martin a chance to rise to the level of his brother, Zack.

Some think Brian (Gaine) and (Bill) O’Brien are playing some sneaky game of poker, trying to outwit their divisional rivals with unorthodox methods. Whatever Brian and O’Brien are up to, it certainly leads to speculation.

Houston Texans General Manager Brian Gaine Takes a Page From Moneyball

Rumor: Not only is Houston signing Cleveland Browns castoffs, but Gaine has already written off 2019 and plans to pull out several draft day trades to stockpile draft picks and cap space for 2020. Trading out of the 23rd pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft to land someone else’s 2nd round pick in 2019 and a 2nd and 3rd in the 2020 NFL Draft makes sense for this sort of approach.

Possibly the biggest fear amongst Texans’ fandom comes from the notion that we’ve seen the last of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney terrorizing opposing offenses.

Texans Trade Jadeveon Clowney and the 23rd overall pick to the Oakland Raiders

Rumor: In this potential blockbuster deal, Houston gives up a player they never should let go, former first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, and throw in their first rounder and the second of their two 2nd round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Houston gets Raiders center Rodney Hudson and the 4th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, which they use to take Florida’s Jawan Taylor. Having previously signed Donald Penn in this scenario, Houston makes a move that dramatically bolsters their offensive line at the cost of a generational talent in Jadeveon Clowney.

While all this craziness is fun to speculate about, if history is any indicator, chances are the reality will be far less exciting in the offing, but has a better payoff:

Houston Texans Run A Vanilla Offseason Plan And Score

Rumor: This scenario has no splashy moves whatsoever. The Texans make a few more not-very-notable free agent signings, don’t make any draft day trades, luck out and draft Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard with the 23rd pick, Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullens with the 54th overall pick, and Vanderbilt cornerback Joejuan Williams with the 55th overall pick. After draft day, Houston finds a great running back amongst the undrafted rookie free agents and shores up the rest of the roster holes with the remainder of its 2019 draft class and veterans cut from other teams.

What do you think? What’s the best scenario you’ve heard so far? Favorite rumor? Wildest speculation? Fill us in on your insider info in the comments box!