Texans yet to make a splash with all their cash
March 14, 2018 Updated: March 14, 2018 3:25pm
Aaron Colvin, left, who doesn’t have a regular-season interception in his NFL career, will be signed by the Texans to upgrade their secondary.
No big splash.
And the powerful left tackle who will replace Duane Brown and protect young franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson in 2018?
The remade Texans are still searching for their primary free-agent prize as NFL free agency moves toward its official beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Case Keenum reportedly will become a Bronco. Kirk Cousins is about to be a Viking. Nate Solder chose the 3-13 New York Giants over the 4-12 Texans, currently leaving new general manager Brian Gaine looking like the new guy on the job.
The Texans entered the league’s legal-tampering period with about $66 million in salary-cap space, partially because the previous GM did so little to address all the glaring holes in 2017. A year later, the Texans are a “re” away from rebuilding, and while there’s some promise in the three new names (cornerback Aaron Colvin, guard Zach Fulton, offensive tackle Seantreal Henderson), there are also question marks and nothing that immediately screams 2018 AFC South champs.
The Texans now reside in a division that was one quarter away from beating the Patriots and being in Super Bowl LII. Ex-Texans coach Mike Vrabel now guides the Titans, who are set to add ex-Patriots Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis. The mighty Jaguars doubled down on ground-and-pound after locking down Blake Bortles, signing guard Andrew Norwell to a five-year, $66.5 million deal.
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According to NFL Network, Solder reportedly received $35 million guaranteed in a four-year, $62 million contract to protect Eli Manning.
Real beef costs serious cash.
It’s been years since the Texans — missing a first- and second-round pick in the upcoming draft — invested in their offensive line like an AFC Championship game contender. Chris Myers, Brandon Brooks, Wade Smith, Eric Winston, Ben Jones, Brown … remember all those names? Brooks just won a Super Bowl protecting Carson Wentz and Nick Foles. Jones won a playoff game backing Marcus Mariota. The banished Brown now blocks for Russell Wilson in Seattle. Since Arian Foster’s decline, the Texans’ devotion to their line just hasn’t been the same.
Free agency is annually overrated. The 0-16 Browns have made the biggest splash in 2018. Some national websites have already assigned defining grades and rankings, despite the fact that no one who’s changed teams will play a real game until September, and we always look back a year later and laugh at all the ridiculous contracts handed out the year prior.
The Patriots lost Solder, Lewis and Butler. They still have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and the fire will just keep burning in New England.
Right now, the Texans’ biggest additions in 2018 are the players they’re getting back: J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Derek Newton, Will Fuller, Nick Martin, Watson and all the other key names that were lost to injury during a horrendous 2017 that ended up with just four wins and, finally, a GM change.
Fulton has potential. He started 24 combined games the last two seasons for good Kansas City teams, can shift across the line and his reported $7.5 million average annual salary is acceptable when you remember just how bad the Texans’ line was at the end of 2017.
The 6-7, 331-pound Henderson is a project entering his fifth pro season, only playing eight games the last two years and starting just one. He’s also on a one-year, $4 million deal. Jeff Allen received a four-year, $28 million contract just two years ago. So if Henderson disappoints again, he’ll still be a better value than that.
Colvin’s signing is … ironic. A year ago, the Texans blew it with the team-developed A.J. Bouye and kept getting embarrassed all the way to the AFC Championship game. A year later, they’re handing a corner who started just nine games for Jacksonville the last two seasons a four-year, $34 million deal.
Thus far, the Texans have filled in old holes, taken a few educated risks and moved second-rate names around. That can work for playoff contenders trying to take the next step in a new season. The Texans would love to just be playoff contenders right now.
Free agency is often fool’s gold. But this is also a 4-12 team in the NFL’s most-improved division.
Watson still needs a trusted, lasting left tackle. The Texans entered pro football’s silly season with too much cash not to make a real splash.
Source : https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/columnists/smith/article/Smith-Texans-yet-to-make-a-splash-with-all-their-12752730.php