Corrosion asked me to make a thread about the Texans 2013 offseason, because the info is good for making mock drafts. So I thought I could put together a little something to help you all out when making mocks and have an easy reference for FAQs like compensatory picks, UFAs/RFAs, and some cap space guesses (yes that's what they all are).
I made an Excel spreadsheet for this and took some screenshots to make it easy to read and display. The forum software doesn't do well with Excel copy/paste data, so if changes need to be made, it might be later on in the thread. Anyways, feel free to poke holes in my arguments or offer feedback on whatever. I'm putting it in this forum specifically for Mock Draft help.
Texans 2013 Free Agents:
We have 21 total UFAs, 13 on defense, 6 on offense, and 2 special teams. As you can see, we have several starters that are not under contract next year. By my own estimations, I would list 7 of these 21 as key contributors to this season: Quin S, Barwin OLB, Dobbins ILB, McCain CB, Cody DT, Caldwell OG, Casey TE (5 defense, 2 offense). When constructing mock drafts, I think it's important to see where we are losing depth, and its clear that the defense will be losing quite a bit if these players aren't retained. Before anyone says it, I don't consider either kicker to be a key contributor because they are easily replaced.
I included their salary and cap hits for this year to show how much they cost this year, but at the moment I don't have an exact estimate of capspace for next year. At this point, I think we will have 8-10 million free after the new Brown and Schaub contracts, but I feel that is slightly optomistic. JJo also restructured this year and pushed 1.3 million into each of the next three years. I think 8 million is a solid cap space projection, assuming nothing else changes. Remember though, about 3-5 million of that will need to be retained for signing draft picks, depending on how many high picks we have. (trade ups cost more than just the draft picks and players used, you guarantee a lot more money to high picks)
So given that we will likely be up against the cap once again, I have identified the most likely candidates to be cut or restructured. Here are the costs and savings for each.
The Guaranteed Pay for each of them is signing bonuses plus restructured money. Antonio's number is a bit higher than other sites may show because he restructured in 2011 to help us sign JJo and Manning. Wade doesn't have much left on his deal, but cutting him actually saves more money than Antonio. As far as I know, none of Walter's money is guaranteed, if anyone knows otherwise please post it.
Clearly something has to be done about Walter and Antonio. Antonio is not worth 9.8 million nor the 8.5 million that he was originally scheduled to make. Walter isn't worth 4.5 million and should take another paycut or head to Baltimore. The bottom line is that we could save 13.5 million by simply cutting these guys. That could make our cap space go up to about 20 million, which would enable us to sign retain our own free agents and possibly sign a new impact player or two.
In addition to the 7 picks that the Texans have in the 2013 draft, they will have 4 more compensatory picks coming their way. The Texans lost 4 qualifying free agents and signed zero. Yes, zero qualifying free agents signed.
Well, I have been looking into comp picks a bit more since the topic came up again. I have to amend my initial projection to a 3,5,6,6. Here's where I'm at:
Mario is a lock for a 3rd.
I believe Brisiel will be worth a 5th due to his 16 starts, 4 million a year AAV (Contract's Average Annual Value) and because he played the majority of the Raiders snaps this year.
I'm dropping Dreesen down to a 6th because his contract value is too low, and the Broncos didn't go as far in the playoffs as I thought they would. He had average TE stats (41 rec, 356 yards, 5 TDs), and played about 75% of their snaps. Had the Broncos made the AFCC or Super Bowl, I believe he would have moved up a round.
I'm putting Jason Allen as a 6th, but he's a wild card. His contract would normally be worth a 5th on AAV alone, but his snaps played is so low, that I think he will be dinged a round or two. I originally put him as a 7th because he started zero games, and only played defense for 3 snaps, the rest was special teams. I don't know how this will work out, he could be anywhere from a 5th to a 7th, but I'll take the conservative route and say 6th.
I found some info on compensatory picks last year with AAV ranges for the picks and this was the matrix for 2012. These ranges can change, but we could have anywhere from a 3, 5,5,6 to a 3,6,7,7.
3 - $6.5/$7 million and greater
4 - $5 to $6.5/$7 million
5 - $4 to $5 million
6 - $2.5/2.75 to $4 million
7 - $1 to $2.5/2.75 million
Compensatory Pick Requirements:
Players must be signed before June 1st in order to affect comp picks
Signing bonuses can be up to 65k without effecting the comp picks.
Players over 10 years accrued no longer count against comp picks.
Players must sign for more than their veteran minimum to nullify other comp picks.
2012 salaries are as follows:
Shayne Graham: 2012: $925,000
Bradie James: 2012: $825,000
Donnie Jones: 2012: $825,000
Alan Ball: 6/2/2012: $700,000 (June 1st is cutoff date for comp picks)
Justin Forsett: 6/2/2012: Signed a one-year contract. (June 1st is cutoff date for comp picks)
Ryan Harris: 9/1/2012: Signed a one-year, $700,000 contract. (June 1st is cutoff date for comp picks)
2012 NFL vet minimum salaries
Rookie - $390,000
1 year - $465,000
2 year - $540,000
3 year - $615,000
4-6 year - $700,000
7-9 year - $825,000
10+ year - $925,000
Long story short, nobody the Texans signed qualified as a free agent.
Practice Squad 2012:
Another way to backfill depth is to call up practice squad players. Several of these guys have been with the team for a while and may be ready to step up to the 53 man roster. Currently we have these guys:
I think Pleasant may take Demps spot on the roster next year. I would love to see one of the TEs develop into a solid blocker and save us a late round draft pick. If Mondek could develop more, maybe he could become our swing tackle and we could let Newton stay at RT. Lots of options to consider.