Mario Manningham to Texans: Why the Ex-Giant Is a Fit in Houston

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIMarch 11, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants attempts to make a catch against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Ask a casual fan to name a Texans receiver other than Andre Johnson, and most would struggle to come up with a name. For reference, the two main targets other than Johnson are Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones.

That has to change for the Texans to take the next step towards being a Super Bowl contender.

Luckily for the Texans, this year features the deepest free agent group of receivers in years, with numerous major threats available.

Unfortunately for the Texans, cap room is a little tight right now, especially with pending contract negotiations with Matt Schaub, Duane Brown and Connor Barwin in 2013.

That means that the Texans will not be in the market for the top players available. Instead, the Texans will be looking for a diamond in the rough, a player who can produce at a high level but with a smaller contract.

Enter Mario Manningham.

Former Giants receiver Manningham is an underrated target due to injury last year, but he is as skilled as many of the more expensive free agents.

With excellent speed and solid jump-ball ability, Manningham excels outside the numbers. This complements Andre Johnson, who can dominate the middle of the field with his size and strength, perfectly.

Further, Manningham has proven to be extremely clutch when given the opportunity. In Super Bowl XLVI, Manningham reeled in an incredible sideline reception late in the fourth quarter. This catch set up the Giants' game-winning drive.

All in all, Manningham brings big game experience that this young team lacks, but more importantly, he simply upgrades the receiver position. Manningham would instantly step in as the No. 2 receiver and upgrade the passing game.

If the Texans manage to sign Manningham at a fair price, they will benefit from a vastly improved passing game at an affordable cost. The Texans can't afford not to make that move.