With Posey out, how should the Texans deal with their wide receiving corps?
In order to make it to a Super Bowl next season, the Houston Texans will have to make several big moves in the 2013 free-agency period.
Unfortunately for the Texans, they have no money. Zero. All of it is currently being dolled out to Matt Schaub, Duane Brown, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and other key Texans players.
Furthermore, the Texans have several amazing players that will become free agents in the next few offseasons. In order to sign guys like Brian Cushing, they will need to retain much of their dwindling supply of spending money.
Therefore, this list will not consist of incredible free agents that the Texans can bring onto their team and instantly create a dangerous Super Bowl contender. They simply do not have the money.
Instead, this list will mainly feature ways the Texans can make bold moves to retain a stable salary cap. The Texans, however, have several positions of need, and it is quite likely that they might bring in a player to instantly solve a concerning issue.
Here are five big moves the Texans can make in free agency this offseason.
Brian Hartline had a breakout year for Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins this past season. That was great news for them, as they needed a dependable stable of receivers to prevent their rookie quarterback from struggling heavily.
Not so great for Miami is that Hartline, one of Tannehill's favorite targets, will be a free agent this offseason. And Miami may not have the means of re-signing him. Especially when they have several glaring issues that must be immediately solved.
If Miami is unwilling to fulfill Hartline's contract desires, then the Texans should position themselves to come in for the steal—at the right price.
If Hartline is willing to negotiate a fair contract that will not be a liability to the Texans' salary cap situation, then he would be a great player for the Texans.
Hartline is a dependable target, and he can consistently get open. He can become a major factor in ending the Texans wide receiver issues once and for all—that is, until Andre Johnson retires.
At the right price, it would be great to see Hartline in a Texans uniform.
Last offseason, a major reason why the Texans did not actively pursue re-signing Mario Williams was because of the excellent production that came from Connor Barwin, a breakout outside linebacker.
Barwin, however, did not justify this vote of confidence from the Texans' front office this season. In fact, he had an awful season.
Three sacks? Really? Truly awful.
If the Texans offer Barwin a big contract based on his solid 2011 campaign, they will be making a huge mistake. They need to present Barwin with a dirt-cheap contract, hope he re-signs so they can make him the primary backup, but shrug it off if another team foolishly picks him up.
Barwin really is not worth anything.
Whitney Mercilus and Brooks Reed are the future of the Texans outside linebacking corps, and Barwin should never be a starter again. He would bring nice experience as a backup, but that is all he should be.
The Texans absolutely cannot overpay Barwin this offseason. That decision would plague the franchise for years upon years.
Although the Texans offense is riddled with major problems that must be fixed, one of the largest is the lack of a dangerous receiving corps behind Andre Johnson.
"Reliable" Kevin Walter has not helped out the situation. At all.
In fact, Walter has not done much of anything this season. While his 518 receiving yards may appear to be somewhat solid, he has only totaled over 70 yards in two games this season. Even worse, he has failed to haul in more than 30 yards in nine total games.
That is truly pathetic. No starting wide receiver should be that much of a nonfactor. Especially when he has three young, extremely talented receivers in DeVier Posey, Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin breathing down his neck.
Walter clearly cannot help the Texans offense in the slightest. At best, he is a possession receiver who can make a few sure-handed grabs. Posey, Jean and Martin, on the other hand, can become playmakers for the Texans.
Texans management should not continue to pay out unrequited money to a player who has not made significant contributions to the offense. Instead, management should cut him and effectively pave the way for the young receivers to step up and enjoy more playing time.
Shaun Cody is a quick nose tackle who has the ability to occasionally scamper around the interior of the line and make a play for the Texans defense.
Occasionally, however, is the key word. Cody's less-than-average size for a nose tackle is detrimental to his success, and he is certainly not a force on the defense.
Great—and large—nose tackles have the ability to affect nearly every single defensive play. Their gigantic size forces opposing offenses to double-team at the line of scrimmage, which makes it easier for linebackers to stuff the run and opens up lanes for pass-rushers.
Cody, unfortunately, does not have the size to do that for the Texans.
The Texans should not re-sign Cody; draft a mountainous nose tackle in the draft, a guy like Kwame Geathers and vastly improve the defense.
As many love to criticize—including me—Gary Kubiak has an extremely strict control of the Texans offense.
He has a monopoly on calling plays, and he is able to decide which audibles Matt Schaub can call before the defense even sets up.
While Kubiak is considered an offensive genius by many, his recent play-calling has been a major reason for the Texans offensive decline. Kubiak is far too conservative, and in the final weeks of the season, it was rare to see Schaub take a single deep shot in an entire game.
Furthermore, Kubiak's tight control of the play-calling makes it difficult for the Texans to run a hurry-up offense and keep opposing defenses on their heels. Also, since Schaub is not used to calling his own plays, he is absolutely inept at running a two-minute drill, and that fact was proved at the end of the New England game.
Although one solution to this would be to fire Kubiak, that will simply not happen. So, in turn, the Texans must find another away of forcing Kubiak to relinquish his dictatorial control of the offense.
One way would be to bring on a new offensive coordinator. Rick Dennison, the current Texans offensive coordinator, might leave Houston this offseason for a head coaching job.
That would be great news. Dennison does nothing to impact the Texans offense, and they might be able to bring in an offensive coordinator that could.
If the Texans were able to bring in a gutsy coordinator to balance Kubiak's conservatism, Texans fans might finally get to see a competent offense back on the field.