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NFL Draft

3 Offensive Free Agents Texans Should Target

  • The Draft Network
  • March 10, 2021
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The Houston Texans are a mess, and that’s putting it nicely. It wasn’t just their disappointing 2020 season that displayed their dysfunction, it crept into the offseason even with the new head coach and general manager in tow.

The change of Houston’s brass, once again, saw a franchise player depart for the desert with defensive end J.J. Watt joining All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona.

The Texans have approximately $17.6 million in salary-cap space, according to Over the Cap, with the NFL’s cap officially set at $182.5 million. Houston can effectively work within the cap to meet their numerous needs on offense, including at quarterback, tight end, wide receiver, running back, and across the offensive line. The Texans will have to look to the 2021 NFL Draft too, but when free agency begins in a week’s time, they could find some notable players at key positions on offense.

Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Let’s start with the most obvious: quarterback. It’s no secret the Texans have a glaring problem under center after Deshaun Watson (rightfully) requested a trade. Houston failed Watson, who finished the 2020 season as the NFL’s passing leader despite the team’s overwhelming lack of success and depleted roster. While newly-minted general manager Nick Caserio is adamant Watson will be the Texans’ quarterback next season, it would be wise to bring in a high-end passer to either serve as a backup or become their starter if a trade does happen.

Jacoby Brissett not only has familiarity with Caserio from their time in New England, but he would come at a relatively team-friendly cost. The Indianapolis Colts didn’t extend his two-year, $30 million contract. Brissett has been linked to a number of QB-needy teams, but Houston is one of the more desperate organizations in need of a new passer. Brissett can be a bridge while the Texans add talent in either this year’s draft or next.

Willie Snead, WR, Baltimore Ravens

The Texans always had a need at receiver, it now becomes a more pressing issue. After practically giving away Hopkins and Will Fuller now approaching free agency, Houston must prioritize a WR1. There are a number of receivers joining Fuller on the free-agent market. Some pass-catchers, like JuJu Smith-Schuster, who’s projected to make $16.1 million a year, via Spotrac, will be too costly for Houston.

Here, Willie Snead offers another team-friendly contract at a projected $7.4 million and can carve out a role as a complement to Brandin Cooks. The Ravens are expected to restructure their receiving corps with Snead heading toward free agency. It’s possible Snead can have a more dominant presence in this offense.

James White, RB, New England Patriots

This could have gone a number of ways with reinforcements needed across the offensive line and a lack of depth in the tight end room. It’s almost maddening to think the Texans need to fill a hole at running back after trading Hopkins for David Johnson, but the aging rusher will need some help. The Texans restructured his contract, and they’ll now need to bring in some support after cutting Duke Johnson. 

Caserio can again look to a familiar face in James White. He can round out the Texans’ rushing attack and can possibly take over as an every-down back if Johnson gets hurt. White had impressive stretches with the Patriots, who finished seven of the last 10 regular seasons with a top-10 rushing attack, but is coming off a down year. The 2020 season was his least productive since entering the NFL in 2014; teams won’t necessarily come rushing to White’s door. But that could work in Houston’s favor. Caserio understands the importance of establishing the run and knows White’s strengths as a pass-catching back.

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