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2020 Free Agency

badboy

Hall of Fame

Taiwan Jones decided to return to Buffalo. Is this the start of OB losing the team?
He's lucky he got a job Somewhere. He was basically a special teams player in that can more realistically be filled by a end of the bench player. I am not putting down special teams but we need to have players who can do more than just that.
 

santo

All Pro
Contributor's Club
He's lucky he got a job Somewhere. He was basically a special teams player in that can more realistically be filled by a end of the bench player. I am not putting down special teams but we need to have players who can do more than just that.
He did more with his limited time than Duke. We probably don’t win that Buffalo game without him. Oh well.
 

zshawn10

All Pro
Where the Texans Stand after a shocking first week of FA
The Texans opened free agency with the league’s most shocking move, then went mostly quiet.

Unlike last year, when head coach Bill O’Brien sent away Jadeveon Clowney and acquired Laremy Tunsil in one day, no splashy deal followed Houston’s underwhelming DeAndre Hopkins trade. And with the first week of free agency complete, the chances of adding an elite player seem to have shrunk. Teams have followed plans, signed premium free agents and tied up cap space.

As the COVID-19 epidemic limits travel, making physicals harder to conduct, signings are now likely to slow down. Yet the Texans, like a lot of teams, have more to do.

Through either free agency or the draft, O’Brien must still address the following needs.

Wide receiver

Even at the start of this offseason, the Texans seemed likely to take advantage of a very deep draft class of receivers. Will Fuller is set to play in the final year of his rookie contract, and his injury history makes his future with the team uncertain. And beyond that potential issue, the Texans must now replace Hopkins, who during the past three seasons ranked in the top three in targets, receptions, receiving yards, first down catches and touchdowns.

Signing receiver Randall Cobb helps, but the addition mostly serves to provide the Texans with a more-reliable slot man than Keke Coutee. Cobb is not Hopkins. Not even close.

There are some intriguing receiver options still available on the free agent market, including Robby Anderson, who has recorded 50 catches of 20-plus yards in the past four seasons, and Breshad Perriman, a former first-round pick who averaged 17.9 yards per reception while playing on a one-year deal with the Bucs. But the Texans are unlikely to spend substantial money on another free agent receiver.

The rationale for trading Hopkins — if there is any — is Houston can rebuild its receiving corps with a cheaper player or two from this draft class, rather than hand Hopkins a new, more-expensive contract.

Interior defensive line

The Texans never seemed likely to bring back D.J. Reader, who signed with the Bengals for a market-resetting deal, so it’s not much of a surprise the team didn’t spend big on any other interior defensive lineman either. O’Brien appears intent on prioritizing players at positions that play more snaps, but the need for an interior pass rush remains.

The team’s "Lunch Pail Crew" of interior lineman — Reader, Angelo Blackson, Brandon Dunn and Carlos Watkins — managed just 61 pressures and two QB hits last season, according to Pro Football Focus. And 35 of those pressures belonged to Reader, one of the best players in a generally underwhelming defensive front.

Houston might reasonably address this need in both the draft and free agency, so who are potential options currently on the market?

Last season, in his first year as a starter for the Broncos, Shelby Harris recorded six sacks and six QB hits. Prior to that, he’d been a productive role player for Denver, managing seven sacks and 16 total QB hits across 2017-18. Over The Cap projects Harris, who will be 29 this season, to receive a three-year, $16.5 million deal.

If the Texans seek a shorter-term option, 33-year-old Ndamukong Suh is available and coming off of a season in which he managed 2.5 sacks and 14 QB hits for the Bucs. But O’Brien prefers to avoid one-year contracts.

Edge rusher

Similar to the Texans’ need for interior defensive linemen, when it came to adding edge rushers, the team was unlikely to address this need early in free agency. Houston has significant money dedicated to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus already, and Watt, set to be a free agent in 2022, could be due for an extension. But he and Mercilus are going to need more help than they had a season ago.

Vinny Curry, who will be 32 next season, could be an affordable option who adds depth. According to PFF, he’s produced at least 30 pressures in six of the past seven seasons — his one year away from the Eagles, in Tampa, being the exception.

Markus Golden, who recorded 10 sacks for the Giants last season, is a free agent, too. His injury history — he played in 15 games during his final two years in Arizona — seems to have limited his market, but the 29-year-old has clear upside.

Interior offensive line

The Texans could create more than $10 million in cap space by cutting guards Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete, but they’re unlikely to part with one (or both) of them before finding replacement depth. The team signed 29-year-old career lineman Brent Qvale to a one-year deal, but he’s a career reserve and not the solution. At this point in free agency, there might not be one available. Drafting a guard, potentially giving the offensive line three starters on rookie deals, looks like Houston’s best option.

Cornerback

After re-signing Bradley Roby, the Texans weren’t going to pay for a second starting corner during the opening week of free agency. For now, they appear ready to play Lonnie Johnson and Gareon Conley on the outside, with Roby in the slot. Johnson would likely come off the field in base defense. Vernon Hargreaves and Phillip Gaines, two members of last season’s team who recently re-signed, are probable backups.

This is basically last season’s secondary, which struggled because of both injuries and general lack of depth, so Houston needs to add another impact corner. After the initial wave of free agency, the team’s best chance of doing that is now through the draft.

Running back

Yes, the Texans traded Hopkins for running back David Johnson, and yes, they’re already devoting more cap space to their top two running backs than Tennessee is set to spend on Derrick Henry. But this is also true: Houston might need another running back.

Why? Johnson has averaged 3.7 yards per carry during the past two seasons, so as much as the Texans believe he’ll bounce back, there’s a reasonable scenario in which the 28-year-old running back doesn’t. And if he doesn’t, the Texans can’t expect counterpart Duke Johnson to be a high-volume option. Duke Johnson has only received 100 carries once in his career, when he was a rookie.

Thankfully for Texans fans, it seems unlikely O’Brien would spend many more resources on running back. Any addition would probably be a draft pick or undrafted free agent. Or Houston could turn to 23-year-old Karan Higdon, who averaged 5.6 yards per carry at Michigan and spent last season on the Texans’ practice squad.
 

Rich Schmidt

Myopicone

What is the likelihood of this happening? I would like to see it.
We already signed two safeties in FA and have Reid and Gipson. Elsewhere Eric's crappy PFF grade was shared, so he had a bad season according to many. I would put this in the not gonna happen camp. I think we have the better safety in Justin for 2020
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
I don't think Wolfe would look so good with the edge rushers we have. He'd get too much attention.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
Isn’t Watt still on the roster?
True, but I think you get the point of my post.

Anyway, the Texans were 1st place losers again. But hey gosh darn it they tried real hard. How many times have we seen this schtick over the yrs. Doesn't matter who the HC/GM are. This is an ownership thingy and it should be obvious that Cal learned well from his dad.
 
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steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
If he picked the Ravens over the Texans, I guess we can write Wolfe down as another one that got away.

I bet you another mil and he would have been a Texan. They have the cap room

The thing I take from this is atleast they realize the DL wasn't good enough last year either. Gotta spend that Reader money somewhere and they still cheaped out on a 1yr deal

Smdh
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
That O'Brien is not improving the roster, yes I get it.
That comes down to ownership and ownership and if they want to spend the money to truly succeed. It seems as though Cal learned well from his daddy.

Sad
 

Lucky

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Staff member
That comes down to ownership and ownership and if they want to spend the money to truly succeed. It seems as though Cal learned well from his daddy.

Sad
I no longer disagree with your "Texans are cheap" premise. I think there's more than enough evidence to support that.

But, that's not what's going on with this Wolfe thing. Or the FA period, in general. The Texans are being blacklisted by players. Not because of McNair (at least not directly). It's because of Billy Boy. No one wants to be here and play for him. Unless, they're getting grossly overpaid (Cobb, Murray). Or are finding no other interest. Houston has become the NFL's abyss.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
I no longer disagree with your "Texans are cheap" premise. I think there's more than enough evidence to support that.

But, that's not what's going on with this Wolfe thing. Or the FA period, in general. The Texans are being blacklisted by players. Not because of McNair (at least not directly). It's because of Billy Boy. No one wants to be here and play for him. Unless, they're getting grossly overpaid (Cobb, Murray). Or are finding no other interest. Houston has become the NFL's abyss.
This would be worrisome for me if I hadn't seen how this org has worked for the last 5 yrs. Right now they're back into the cycle of getting FA's on the cheap or having to overpay. What's really changed since the Bob McNairs inmate/asylum comment? Besides what does it really matter, the Texans are never players in FA anyways.

They will never win a championship this way, but hey who cares Cal's gonna keep on cashin those checks. He learned well from his daddy. It is what it is.

The correct way and it would take balls is for Cal to come in and blow the whole thing up, hier a new GM and let the GM hire his HC. But that's not how Bob McNair trained Cal.
 

OptimisticTexan

Go Texans 4-3...Post OB!!!!!
This would be worrisome for me if I hadn't seen how this org has worked for the last 5 yrs. Right now they're back into the cycle of getting FA's on the cheap or having to overpay. What's really changed since the Bob McNairs inmate/asylum comment? Besides what does it really matter, the Texans are never players in FA anyways.

They will never win a championship this way, but hey who cares Cal's gonna keep on cashin those checks. He learned well from his daddy. It is what it is.

The correct way and it would take balls is for Cal to come in and blow the whole thing up, hier a new GM and let the GM hire his HC. But that's not how Bob McNair trained Cal.
I think OB may have put his own nail in his coffin with this highly visible Hopkins trade. Every NFL FA can play GM and look at this deal and say, "what ducking moron would trade away a top NFL receiver and a RD4 pick for an extremely high-priced has-been RB, RD2 pick and a 2021 RD4 pick? They figure, if this is how he (OB) treats the best player in the organization.....then that's an organization I'll steer away from. OB is a failure in everyone's eyes but Cal and Mama McNair.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
I think OB may have put his own nail in his coffin with this highly visible Hopkins trade. Every NFL FA can play GM and look at this deal and say, "what ducking moron would trade away a top NFL receiver and a RD4 pick for an extremely high-priced has-been RB, RD2 pick and a 2021 RD4 pick? They figure, if this is how he (OB) treats the best player in the organization.....then that's an organization I'll steer away from. OB is a failure in everyone's eyes but Cal and Mama McNair.
This would be an issue if the Texans even tried to make an effort to sign top tier FA's.
 

Lucky

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Staff member
This would be an issue if the Texans even tried to make an effort to sign top tier FA's.
How would we know? It’s clear the Texans perception problem is multifaceted.

1) Will not pay existing players their market value.
2) Attempt to stick their nose in players’ private lives.
3) Coach is a hot head who holds grudges that seep into his GM role.

O’Brien has become a pariah. And the franchise didn’t have a player friendly image to begin with. This is going nowhere until Billy is ousted and a real GM comes in to right the ship. I mean a proven guy who can instantly change the culture.
 

zshawn10

All Pro
I didn't know where to put this but it's a mailbag from patdstat

What role, if any, will Kahale Warring play this year? via @PaulMorg88

Hey PaulMorg88,

Just like last season Darren Fells returning to the Texans solidifies him to the starting role while Jordan Akins will continue his role as the pass-catching option in 11 personnel (three-wide receivers). That leaves Warring in direct competition with Jordan Thomas with whatever role is left at the tight end group. Last season, the Texans showed that they will keep four tight ends on the roster, and they could do that again in 2020. A leg injury slowed Kahale Warring during the start of training camp, and a concussion suffered in joint practices with Green Bay. Talent is not the issue with Warring; it’s going to be about winning over the coaching staff when he hits the field with the team. He is going to have to win a role with the offense.

Any chance Clowney signs in Houston for a 1-year deal? via @DROBriant

Hello DRO,

That would be great, wouldn’t it? The return of Jadeveon Clowney to the Texans would send everyone into a frenzy. Clowney still lives in the Houston area with his family and trains in the city too, but it is a long shot that it would happen. It doesn’t feel like things ended well after a back and forth for a couple of seasons on a potential contract ending with a trade to Seattle, but bringing back Clowney would be one for the ages.

What are the chances we offer Watson his big contract before training camp starts? How much money do you think it would be? via @JJHOU99

Hello,

The most significant factor is the Dallas Cowboys getting a deal done with quarterback Dak Prescott. That will help set the bar for Watson and the Texans. There is little incentive for Watson and his representatives to complete a deal without knowing what other quarterbacks are worth to their teams. Until Prescott lands a deal, it is hard to see the Texans and Watson moving forward on a deal.

As for a contract for Watson, we are probably looking at $37-40 annually, with nearly $100 million guaranteed. Our good friend TexansCap.com put together a mock deal for Watson, and it helps outline what a potential agreement would look like. (Read TexansCap.com Watson Deal Here)

Can BOB stabilize Watson and make him top 5 QB for more than 8 games a season? via @rz19842

Thanks for the question RZ19842,

That is a good question, and it compares to the chicken versus the egg conversation. Is it Watson, or is it the offensive gameplan. It will no longer be up to O’Brien to make Watson tick, and it will now be up to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly to improve the offense. Add in Kelly is the new quarterback coach for Watson, plenty of the responsibility falls directly on him for the upcoming season. Watson himself will need to improve on reading defenses, especially second level blitzes from the secondary and dogs from linebackers. He sometimes has trouble picking those looks up, and it has created pressure issues on Watson.

What’s Bill O’Brien seeing in David Johnson? What’s made him trade rather than just wait for a decent free agent to shake loose? via @randomdogname

Hey RandomDogName,

There are a few things that occurred for David Johnson to be acquired by the Texans. It took Carlos Hyde to turn down a deal, DeAndre Hopkins to have contract demands the Texans were unwilling to meet and Bill O’Brien in all of his trades bring back a player that they feel have worth to their roster.

In this case, it was Johnson.

The Texans did not want to create two roster holes, and by landing Johnson, it gives them two backs in David and Duke Johnson that they feel can expand their offense every down.

Remember last season when Hyde was on the field, 16 passing targets in 526 offensive snaps. With Hyde on the field, it made the running back position a non-factor in the passing game, and they felt Johnson brings them two running backs that make the defense defend every offensive player on the field.

Last season, Johnson lined up in the slot for 67 snaps and during his All-Pro season in 2016 Johnson not only lined up in the backfield but he was able to line up in the slot (76 snaps) and out wide (121 snaps). His ability to move in the formation only expands the Texans offense with him on the field making the defense match up players snap to snap.

Right or wrong, getting a player back that can help their offense was a priority in the deal to prevent more roster issues.

I would not rule out another running back showing up via the draft or free agency.

Is Bill in the hot seat? via @CastellanoLip

Hello Castellano,

As much as everyone wants to see Bill O’Brien gone, it is hard even to see that happening. O’Brien has to keep ownership privy to moves that are taking place, and unless he starts tanking in the win-loss column, that is what ultimately matters. O’Brien’s three division titles are tied for the most by any active head coach in their first five years, and his 42 career victories stand as the most by any head coach in franchise history through their first five years. Wins and losses are what matter at this point.
 

Texansballer74

Hall of Fame
How would we know? It’s clear the Texans perception problem is multifaceted.

1) Will not pay existing players their market value.
2) Attempt to stick their nose in players’ private lives.
3) Coach is a hot head who holds grudges that seep into his GM role.

O’Brien has become a pariah. And the franchise didn’t have a player friendly image to begin with. This is going nowhere until Billy is ousted and a real GM comes in to right the ship. I mean a proven guy who can instantly change the culture.
Changing this culture will have to start with getting rid of Bill O’Brien. Will Cal allow that GM to have that type of power? Or will he try to find one Tahoe can coexist with Billy Boy.
 

banned1976

All Pro
I didn't know where to put this but it's a mailbag from patdstat



At this point Patrick is O’Brien’s PR guy. Which is fine, he probably needs one. But when he goes into that mode I take what he says with a grain of salt.

As far as Warring goes, he’s athletic - a talented football player very much remains to be seen.
 

Speedy

Yeller Dweller
Yeah, the culture is changing to no talent try hards. Talent and coaching wins in the playoffs. We will be lacking in both areas.....

Did I mention an OC and DC with no experience

Just saying.......
Being the best Wednesday through Saturday. That's the Texans way.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
At this point Patrick is O’Brien’s PR guy. Which is fine, he probably needs one. But when he goes into that mode I take what he says with a grain of salt.

As far as Warring goes, he’s athletic - a talented football player very much remains to be seen.
Warring is very athletic, whether he can stay healthy or not remains to be seen.
 

banned1976

All Pro
Warring is very athletic, whether he can stay healthy or not remains to be seen.
That too but I think he’s only had one year of college football. Maybe I’m thinking of someone else. Whatever the case may be, the Texans have a logjam at TE and for whatever reason they have had difficulty implementing the TE in game planning since O’Brien got here.

I still don’t understand why they used a valuable pick on Warring. The Texans have done a lot recently that don’t seem to make sense.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
That too but I think he’s only had one year of college football. Maybe I’m thinking of someone else. Whatever the case may be, the Texans have a logjam at TE and for whatever reason they have had difficulty implementing the TE in game planning since O’Brien got here.

I still don’t understand why they used a valuable pick on Warring. The Texans have done a lot recently that don’t seem to make sense.
Hopefully this changes under Kelly.

They've never had an athletic the that can stretch the seams like Warring can. He's got the athletic ability to be a poor man's Kelce.
 

banned1976

All Pro
Goo Gobs of Free Agents are be signed....The Texans have not done much
It’s pretty typical for the Texans to hold back in free agency until the 3rd wave starts up. I don’t mind them doing that as long as they’re keeping their own in-house. They’ve not been able to do much of that the last couple of years with the defense in particular losing a lot of veterans.

The Texans really do need guys like Damon Harrison to come over. They’ve lost so much talent on defense it’s just incredible. If the season started today that unit would be screwed.
 


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