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Combined Cap Hit:
- Rashad Butler
- Antoine Caldwell
- Andrew Gardner
- Ryan Harris
Who to Re-sign:
Rashad Butler: Butler was in a heated battle to take over the starting job at right tackle with Derek Newton before the start of last season. However, a season-ending injury landed him on the IR.
While the starting job at right tackle is currently solely in the possession of Newton, Butler could provide valuable depth to a struggling offensive line. His veteran presence would be greatly beneficial for the right side of the line composed of mainly young players.
Who to Let Walk:
Antoine Caldwell: Like Butler, Caldwell was in a competition to win the starting job at right guard before the beginning of the 2013-13 season. In fact, Caldwell was named the starter for the season opener, and his future looked bright with the Texans.
Caldwell, however, did not take advantage of his opportunity. He struggled to play consistently, and he failed to open up running room for the Texans' starting running back, Arian Foster.
Re-signing Caldwell would be an awful mistake. He has struggled with injury issues in the past, and by the end of last season, rookies Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks were receiving playing time over him. Re-signing Caldwell would mean spending money on an unnecessary player, and the Texans cannot afford uselessly wasting money right now.
Andrew Gardner: While Gardner understands the Texans' zone-blocking scheme, he is not a talented nor extremely skilled offensive lineman. The Texans would benefit from bringing in a rookie who could have the potential to succeed in the future to replace him.
Ryan Harris: Harris, once a great player for the Denver Broncos, has not been the same since suffering a myriad of devastating injuries. He is aging and performed terribly for the Texans when given playing time.
Who to Cut:
Draft or Free Agency:
Draft: What makes the Texans' offense run is not Matt Schaub, not Arian Foster and not Andre Johnson. What makes the Texans' offense run is a consistent offensive line.
The offense relies on the successful execution of the zone-blocking scheme. If not executed to perfection, Foster will be left without running room. No matter how talented of a back he is, Foster would not be able to gain any significant yardage with a struggling offensive line in the zone-blocking scheme.
The Texans' passing game completely depends on the running game. If Foster stalls, then the play-action passing game would have no potential to succeed.
Therefore, the best way to beat the Texans is to brutally attack their offensive line. That is what happened to the Texans during their late-season collapse.
In response, the Texans must address their offensive needs in the year's draft. They do not have enough money to bring in an expensive free agent, and the Texans' front office has a knack for finding talented linemen in the later rounds.