Old Posting (new posting below) In a salary cap regime like the NFL, the value of a player is a function of his performance measured against his cap value. A non-expansion NFL team typically drafts 12 players (the Terrific 12 if you will) in the first 3 rounds over a 4 year period. These 12 players are particularly valuable to a franchise in a salary cap regime, because they typically have much lower cap values than players signed through free agency. For example, Chester Pitts has a 2004 cap value of $705,000, but Steve McKinney has a 2004 cap value of $3,050,000. Typically, an impact player becomes a free agent after four accrued years and either leaves, or receives his first big free agency contract. Each year, a franchise typically loses 3 first day drafted players to free agency (unless they re-sign the players) and get three replacements through the draft, thereby maintaining their Terrific 12 (in some cases, of course, a player drafted to be a Terrific 12 player wont work out and a team may end up with less than 12, or a second day drafted player may excel, like Domanick Davis, thereby creating more than 12). McKinney, Bradford, Wong, Smith and Wade are all examples of four year players who got big raises to come to the Texans for their 5th year. In the 2002 season, the Texans first year, they only had 5 Terrific 12 (1 first, 2 second and 2 third), while all the other teams had 12. Bummer. Unlike the Panthers and the Jaguars, the Texans werent given any extra first round picks. Hard to compete. The good news is the Texans have now caught up, thanks to expansion picks and Charlie Casserlys astute trades. They now have 12 players who they drafted on the first day. The Texans now have a Terrific 12 like other NFL teams. Good. New Posting How does the Texans next opponents Terrific 12 compare with ours? YR Texans (only 3 yrs) F I 02 QB David Carr R 03 WR Andre Johnson S 04 CB Dunta Robinson T 04 LB Jason Babin S E 02 WR Jabar Gaffney C 02 OL Chester Pitts O 03 TE Benny Joppru N 04 RB Tony Hollings D T 02 OL Fred Weary H 02 OL Charles Hill (released) I 03 LB Antwan Peek R 03 OL Seth Wand D 03 QB Dave Ragone YR Cboys (4 yrs) F I 02 DB Roy Williams R 03 CB Terence Newman S T 01 QB Quincy Carter (released) S 01 DB Tony Dixon E 02 OL Andre Gurode C 02 WR Antonio Bryant O 03 OL Al Johnson N 04 RB Julius Jones D 04 OL Jacob Rogers T 01 DT Willie Blade (released) H 02 DB Derek Ross (released) I 03 TE Jason Witten R 04 OL Stephen Peterson D Old Posting And the news gets better. In 2005, the Texans should keep all of their Terrific 12 (none will have four accrued years) and add 4 new members through the 2005 draft (1 first, 1 second and 2 thirds), giving them a total of 16 Terrific 12. Great news!