The Houston Texans' brain trust has had the unenviable task of trying to improve on their 2-14 record from a year ago while also trying to save money. Unlike some of the other teams in the NFL that have been throwing money around like it grows on trees, the Texans have had to be very frugal with their money, while watching several of their free agents leave to sign bigger contracts with other teams.
Some of their key losses have been:
- RB, Ben Tate, signed with Cleveland for $7 million.
- LB, Bryan Braman, signed with Philadelphia for $3.15 million.
- DL, Earl Mitchell, signed with Miami for $16 million.
- DL, Terrell McClain, signed with Dallas for $3 million.
- DL, Antonio Smith, signed with Oakland for $9 million.
- LB, Darryl Sharpton, signed with Washington for $1.75 million.
- LB, Joe Mays, signed with Kansas City for $6 million.
The Houston Texan brain trust felt that they had to trade Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders for a sixth round draft pick in a move to save some money. By trading Schaub, the Texans reportedly saved $3.93 million. Schaub led the Texans to the 2011 and 2012 AFC South Championships. This is a deal that I am not a fan of and I feel the Texans are making a bad move by trading a proven winning quarterback, only saving $3.93 million and only getting a sixth round draft pick for him.
To take the place of Schaub, the Texans signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, a multiyear starter with a one year stint at Tennessee, four seasons in Buffalo, and one year in Cincinnati. Here is a closer look at Fitzpatrick:
- 6-2, 223, prototype size for a QB
- 31 years old, he should have at least 2 good years left
- 106:93 TD:INT ratio (2:1 is ideal)
- 60% completion percentage
The Texans were able to re-sign tight end Garrett Graham and cornerback/special teams specialist Elbert Mack. Graham was the Texans' third leading receiver last year and has the prototype size and speed NFL teams look for at the tight end position. Graham should have four more good productive seasons. Mack, a six year veteran, tied for the second most special teams tackles last season for the Texans. Mack is an undersized corner, but he gives them good production in special teams at a cheap price.
Houston has signed four free agents so far at the writing of this article on April 5th. Theplayers they have signed so far is QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, FS Kendrick Lewis, NT Jerrell Powe, and SS Chris Clemons.
FS Kendrick Lewis
- 6-0, 198, 4.73. He is too slow for my liking. I do not think he is an upgrade at this position.
- 56 tackles, 4 passes defensed (PD), 1 INT. Shiloh Keo had more tackles and more passes defensed.
- Played for Romeo Crennel in Kansas City, so he must like him as a player.
- He is 25 years old, so he is just entering into his peak years of his career.
- Signed for 1 year/$795,000. Good contract, but I don't think they needed to sign him.
NT Jerrell Powe
- 6-2, 331, 5.29. He is also too slow for my liking. I would like to see his 40 time down around 4.9
- Major durability issues. Been in the league for 3 seasons, only played in 12 games.
- Powe also played for Crennel in Kansas City, so he must like him.
- 26 years old, so he is just entering into the peak years of his career as well.
- Signed for 1 year/$645,000. Good cheap contract.
SS Chris Clemons
- 6-1, 214, 4.33. Clemons has prototype size and speed for a strong safety.
- 93 tackles, 8 PDs, and 1 INT in 2013 for Miami. Very good production.
- 28 years old. He should have 4 good seasons left in his career.
- Signed for 2 years/$2.7 million. Good contract, but I would have tried to make it longer.
- I look for Clemons to start for the Texans at some position in their secondary in 2014.
Other Areas of need:
- Running back that can spell Arian Foster.
- Dennis Johnson is too small to be an every down back
- Left guard to battle Alex Kupper for the starting spot.
- Outside linebacker that can rush the passer
- Nose tackle to battle Jerrell Powe and to spell him
- Defensive end to battle Tim Jamison
- Inside linebacker to battle for a starting spot