It has been an extend break for a State of the Texans mailbag answering questions on the Houston Texans. With the new league year closing in marking the opening of free agency, there is plenty to discuss.
Who will the Texans target in free agency?
When will the Texans sign Jadeveon Clowney?
Which free agents are good fits for the Texans?
We answer those and much more.
State of the Texans Mailbag
The Texans have been trying to sign Jadeveon Clowney since last off-season. The numbers were not right for Clowney’s representation and by the time season started, negotiations stopped due to Brian Gaine’s policy.
The Texans want to land Clowney for the long-term and view him as a core player of the franchise. Part of the problem is this, Clowney is an edge player and moves around enough that he is part outside linebacker and part defensive end. If the Texans can get Clowney into the top 3 to 5 players from that group of “edge” players, they probably get a deal done.
I am one of the few that feels that the Texans and Clowney strike a deal prior to the start of the season.
This is a topic that has popped up with all the Clowney contract discussions the past week.
Here is one thing I know, the Texans will do everything in their power to make sure J.J. Watt retires in a Texans uniform.
Watt has little leverage at the moment, especially with those two seasons of injuries that caused him to pretty much miss both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. His 2018 campaign show a huge bounce back for him and he is going to have to do it again. He has to show he is healthy and can keep producing the way he does. Another season like 2018 for 2019, he will get another extension to keep him in Houston.
This will be an interesting off-season for the Texans heading into free agency. Obviously, the free agency period provides some hope for a fanbase looking for the team to take the next step. The Texans have plenty of cap space to make moves but making a big splash is unlikely. We do expect them to have a pulse on the market.
As for me, looking at running back, tight end and linebacker. Here are some options.
Running Back- T.J. Yeldon (Jacksonville), he does a little bit of it all, run with a purpose and can chip in as a pass catcher when needed. He needs to improve on pass pro but with the Jaguars pretty much passing him over with Leonard Fournette and Carlos Hyde, he could be a good piece to the running back depth chart.
Tight End- Dion Sims (Chicago, Sims is a veteran that can help at the Y-tight end spot. The Texans need a blocking tight end in the worst way and Sims could be that player. Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins need to be on the field but there needs to be a veteran presence to help out when needed and Sims would understand his role in being the grinder in the run game and being that veteran presence for the Jordans.
Linebacker- Deone Bucannon (Arizona), the Texans are pretty much set at inside linebacker with Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole. Bucannon was the match-up linebacker for the Cardinals and a converted safety on top of that. Bucannon would give the Texans a matchup player that could help in certain situations on defense and help out on special teams too.
Lets start with the first question.
1.) The Texans will have at least three to four quarterbacks on the roster when the off-season starts. The Texans have talked to a few quarterbacks during the draft process most notably Gardner Minshew, Trace McSorley and Will Grier. That lets us know the Texans are looking for a young quarterback to develop just in case, which they should do despite having Deshaun Watson as the clear cut answer at the position.
If they look at any quarterback, Tyrod Taylor makes plenty of sense here especially with Brian Gaine having an up close look at him in Buffalo during the 2017 season. Taylor would be a good veteran to have and at least give the Texans a fighting chance if they ever had to use the back up quarterback. There will be a young quarterback in the building too.
2.) I think the Texans really want a safety, not a hybrid player. They had to use Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson at cornerback last season due to injuries but they want to make a clear cut safety to team with Justin Reid and find cornerbacks they trust for this upcoming season. The Texans want Mathieu back but if his price gets too high for their taste, keep an eye out for Adrian Amos Jr. from Chicago.
First the Texans view Kareem Jackson as a safety and they know they need to find younger and faster cornerbacks to compete at a higher level for the coming seasons. The Texans have focused their attention to Mathieu at safety but are also keeping an eye on the safety group in free agency just in case there is a bidding war.
The Texans apparently feel the need to move on from Jackson and it appears that is how it will end up. Expect a new look group for 2018 that includes Johnathan Joseph, Aaron Colvin and Johnson Bademosi.
With the release of Kevin Johnson, the Texans have committed to adding to the cornerback group that will have at least three new faces. A player like Bradly Roby (Denver) makes plenty of sense and so does Ronald Darby (Philadelphia) who is coming off a torn ACL. Justin Coleman (Seattle), Pierre Desir, (Indianapolis) Darqueze Dennard (Cincinnati), and Buster Skrine (New York-J) could possibly be acquired to help the group out.
Expect the Texans to be relatively active at the cornerback position trying to correct their biggest weakness.
It feels that the Texans will be targeting cornerbacks, wide receiver and possibly an interior defensive lineman when free agency opens. It sounds like the Texans will be looking at offensive lineman exclusively thought the draft trying to get younger players in the building to learn the system and grow as players.
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