The Houston Texans have one big, glaring need staring them in the face and the whole NFL knows what it is. Brian Hoyer‘s instant classic of a playoff game showed OB and Rick Smith that this team needs a quarterback. And they have made it clear that that is their major goal.
There are a few other holes, although not as pressing, on the Texans roster. There are also quite a few veterans who may be able to fill them currently on the open market. Here are three guys I wouldn’t mind seeing in Texans Battle Red next season.
There are a lot of Texans favorites seemingly hitting free agency. DeMeco Ryans was released yesterday. Ryans was awesome in his time with the Texans, but his past two years have been injury riddled and he is half the player he used to be. Mario Williams sure would be fun opposite J.J. Watt, but he would be too expensive and I would rather see them get Jared Crick back on this line. Antonio Smith and his swashbuckling sword dance could be fun to team up aside J.J. again, but he is in the twilight of his career. Oh yea, Randy Bullock is out there.
Then of course is AJ. Andre Johnson is going to be released by the Indianapolis Colts and his agent claims he doesn’t want to retire. Andre is my favorite player in my 35 years of watching football, but we all know Andre plays hardball. He had an awful season — aside from one game against the Texans — and didn’t display anything to show that he is a starting wide receiver in the NFL. Essentially, Andre played exactly how OB asked him to play if he stayed with the Texans, a third down/slot receiver. Except he did it in Indy, for way more money than he should have made, and the Texans won the division after he left for a contender.
If Andre wants to sign a one-year, $1 or $2-million deal, I would consider the idea. But there is someone I rather see on a one or two year deal if the price is right.
Wait? Why would I dare suggest Boldin after I just said Johnson may be too old to contribute. Boldin is in fact older than Andre Johnson, but he has stuff left in the tank, and that stuff is exactly what the Texans need.
Boldin has been the leading receiver for two consecutive seasons on a 49ers team that has displayed atrocious quarterback play. He has had over 110 targets his way in each of those two seasons. Johnson had a mere 77 targets last season, and while you can argue that the Colts QB situation was a mess, Boldin’s was no better and possibly even worse.
The difference was that Boldin can still separate and when the QB — whomever it was — could actually get him the ball, he produced. It was Boldin’s worst numbers of his career, but he was dinged up at the end and still seemed to show he can play.
Boldin would likely still command a $5 to $6-million dollar per year deal. But if the Texans could get him in the two-year, $6-million total range to be the reliable out guy that would open up DeAndre Hopkins and let him do his highlight reel thing, it could be exactly what a young quarterback needs.
This isn’t an Eric Moulds situation. Boldin is a potential Hall of Famer.
2. Coby Fleener/ Ladarius Green/ Dwayne Allen
Ok, so this is three guys in one slot, but the point is, if the Texans are going to go young and anoint their next franchise quarterback, they sure as heck need a way more reliable tight end on their hands.
All three are young and all three are imposing presences. Fleener is the most exciting of the bunch, as his athleticism is seemingly superior to the other two, but with a healthy Andrew Luck back behind center, you could bet he will push to hold on to his long time sidekick.
Ladarius Green is a huge presence that has improved his game under the apprenticeship of Antonio Gates, but he still has holes in his game. His upside is greater than Allen’s, but at this point we know who Allen is: a pretty stout blocker with relatively sure hands. Allen is probably safer, but if Green reaches the potential people had envisioned in him, he becomes a gargantuan 6 foot 6 red zone presence.
3. Eric Weddle
I know what most Texans fans are going to say. This has Ed Reed written all over it, but I don’t think it’s the same.
When Ed Reed came to the Texans he was 35-years old and knew he was hurt. Remember that whole physical situation? Sure Weddle is coming off of “injury”, but this was a very peculiar situation. Weddle wanted to play, and when the Chargers put him on season-ending IR, he showed up at practice and in front of the media showed that he certainly didn’t look too hurt.
Rahim Moore was a total bust. Quintin Demps is who he is at this point and there was a reason the Texans let him go a few years back. Andre Hal made the transition from DB to full time free safety look easy, so at just 23-years old, the Texans are hopefully set there.
Now, while Weddle has been primarily a free safety his entire career, he also has the athleticism to play anywhere. He would also be a great mentor alongside Johnathan Joseph to this younger secondary. When healthy — which he should be — he is also a sure bet for 100 tackles and two or three picks and tackles are something the Texans could use. In fact, Weddle would have been tied as the Texans second leading tackler last season and he only played 12 full games.
Obviously, Boldin and Weddle come with red flags. Obviously, there is no way the Texans could get all three. But to take a look at all of these guys, you can see that making a move on any one of them could improve this team.