Nothing makes my heart go aflutter like great roster management.
That's why I'm in love with Rick Smith of the Houston Texans this week.
The Texans have had a turbulent offseason, and the team has probably gone backwards talent-wise from where they were at the close of 2011. That doesn't mean that Rick Smith hasn't done an incredible job.
The Texans, like many teams, were squeezed by a salary cap that has remained flat from where it was in 2009. They found themselves up against the wall with few options. Circumstances as much as anything created the problem, and Smith picked a bold course through the crisis.
He has spent months making hard choices. Make no mistake, the Texans lost a lot of talent this offseason, and the team will be weaker in 2012. However, they are still the clear favorites to win the division, and with some breaks they will be contenders in a weak conference.
More importantly, they've gained some control over their future finances and should be in prime position to move forward next year. You don't lose names like Mario Williams, Joel Dreessen and Eric Winston without consequences, but you also don't build for the future by overpaying in the present.
One writer told me that Smith was "an extreme tire-kicker" as an affectionate reference to the due-diligence he puts into finding veterans to plug in to his roster. To me, that sounds like a man who works hard to uncover any option that might make his team better.
Every team has weaknesses. Every team has to make hard choices about where and how to spend money. Going forward at a million miles-an-hour isn't a sound option if you want a well-run club.
Under Smith, the Texans didn't get better this offseason, but they did get a lot healthier for the long haul.
So hugs and kisses, Rick Smith. You are my AFC South Crush of the Week.