Houston Texans: 6 Veteran Free Agents the Texans Should Invite to Training Camp
These vets will not compete for starting jobs, nor will they even be locks to make the final roster once the season starts, but they can push the team's younger players and supply them with valuable knowledge about the game.
There are several key positions on the Texans that can be labelled as a weakness compared to the rest of the team, and management should highly consider bringing vets of those positions.
On the offensive line, behind their three established starters of Chris Myers, Duane Brown and Wade Smith, the Texans have a whole lot of inexperience. Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Butler, the two predicted starters on the right side of the line, have had some NFL experience, but not anywhere close to that of a regular starter. Behind those two, the Texans' depth is filled with rookies and projects.
The same is almost true for the wide receiver position. After Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter, not a single receiver has caught a single pass in the NFL.
Any veterans that the Texans bring in right now will not solve a weakness nor significantly improve the team; rather, they will be given the opportunity to provide leadership for younger players and push them to their limit.
Chad Clifton: OT
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Chad Clifton has had an extraordinary career. Starting 160 out of 165 games during his time in the NFL, he has served as the anchor in the Packers' pass-protection for both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.
The two-time Pro Bowler seems to be an ideal pickup for any team with a weakness on the offensive line, but one thing can prevent him from playing at all in the NFL this season: his injury concerns.
Since Clifton has not yet announced his retirement, he clearly wants to give the NFL one more shot, and prove he has what it takes to contribute to any NFL franchise interested in him.
The Texans would be wise to bring in Clifton for a workout, as he would be a great presence in the locker room as well as an excellent tutor for the Texans' young linemen.
Kyle Kosier: OG
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While Kyle Kosier has not had the decorated career of Chad Clifton, he certainly has one thing to speak for: experience.
In the past six seasons, the 34-year-old has started 80 out of 80 games played with the Dallas Cowboys. Kosier was extremely successful in Dallas, and he allowed the offensive line to play at a high level whenever he was in the game.
Kosier was a cap casualty this offseason, as the Cowboys cut him to save $1.55 million in cap room. He was a leader on the offensive line, and this surprise cut was not appreciated by the fans in Dallas.
If the Texans bring in Kosier to their training camp, he would supply the Texans' offensive line with much-needed experience, and his ability to still play at a competitive level in the NFL should push the Texans' rookies and inexperienced players to work much harder.
Kareem McKenzie: OT
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One positive about McKenzie is that despite his advanced age, he remains very solid in the run game, which is the bread and butter of the Texans' offense. He still displays incredible strength when blocking opposing defenders, and played a major role in the successful seasons of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
McKenzie could provide quality depth for the Texans, and the team should not be hesitant to give this guy a call and bring him in for training camp.
Marcus McNeill: OT
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Marcus McNeill may be the most talented offensive lineman named on this list, as well as the youngest, so why then are most teams avoiding giving him a chance?
But while McNeill is probably the best remaining offensive lineman available in free agency, he may have some severe injury issues.
He spent last season with the Chargers on the IR with a neck injury, and he did not pass the team's physical, which resulted in him being released.
McNeill's agent, however, tweeted last month that, "Marcus was cleared to resume play this past Friday by orthopedic neck & spine specialist Dr. Craig Brigham. Marcus is in good spirits and has a great appreciation for the Chargers organization. He is looking forward to getting back to football."
If he is truly ready to re-join the NFL, then the Texans must quickly snap up on this opportunity and invite McNeill to their training camp. If healthy, McNeill can be an extremely dependable starter, and his talent should not be ignored by an NFL franchise.
Roy Williams: WR
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Roy Williams, a Pro Bowler in 2006, is by far the most talented and ready-to-play receivers left in free agency.
Despite never meeting the expectations that were desired of him, Williams has put together a solid NFL career. Standing at 6'4", he can provide the Texans will the red-zone target that they are lacking behind Andre Johnson.
If DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin or Lestar Jean cannot play well or consistently for the Texans in the upcoming season, then Williams could be a great option as the team's No. 3 wide receiver.
The only issue with bring in Williams is that he may expect a larger contract, something which the Texans cannot afford to dole out. If the team wishes to bring in Williams, then he must come cheap.
Bryant Johnson: WR
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Bryant Johnson is an extremely athletic wide receiver who has never been able to be very successful in the NFL.
Johnson, who is an excellent red-zone target at 6'2", has averaged around 500 yards per season and has never scored more than than four touchdowns in a 16-game campaign..
He is familiar with the Texans' play-action passing offense, and could help the Texans' young, inexperienced receivers make a smooth transition to the offense.