The 6 Moves the Houston Texans Must Avoid in Free Agency
As the nerve-wracking period of free agency nears, hundreds of article are churned out concerning what the Texans absolutely must do this offseason. So, to break the monotony, here is an article outlining the moves the Texans must avoid in free agency.
During free agency, everything from player signings to franchise tags to contract extension must be managed perfectly. If not, a team will likely struggle in the upcoming season.
For the Texans, this free agency period will be key. They are reeling from a devastating late-season collapse which saw them essentially give the number one seed in the AFC in December before an early playoff exit.
In order to achieve the far better half of the Super Bowl-or-bust mentality, the Texans must execute their free agency decisions to perfection. The future of the Texans franchise is dependent on personnel decisions that Bob McNair, Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak make this offseason.
So, here is an article centered around key decisions that must be made in the Texans front office and what not to do.
Overpaying for Connor Barwin
The extraordinaire. The original bull. Devastating pass-rusher.
If we were still in 2011, each term would accurately describe Connor Barwin.
Now, however, a different, less flattering set of adjectives are often associated with Barwin as a football player: Inefficient, inconsistent and declining.
After an incredible, breakout campaign in 2011, Barwin reverted back to mediocrity this past season. He was unable to generate any type of significant pressure and it was a rare sight to see him put a quarterback on the ground.
This puts the Texans in a seemingly untenable position. Barwin will likely seek a contract based on his terrific 2011 season during the beginning of free agency and the Texans do not have the depth to throw the outside linebacker out onto the street.
Therefore, it might be in their best interests to re-sign Barwin, but they cannot afford to overpay him, especially since it remains to seen whether Barwin will return to his 2011 level of production.
The Texans need to re-sign Barwin to a cheap contract that is based on his production in 2012 and, if he demands too much money, be prepared to let him walk.
Reaching for a Star Receiver
Throughout free agency, cries for Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace will ring out from Houston. Those pushing for any of these acquisitions argue (justifiably) that the Texans need a legitimate WR2 to jump-start the stagnant offense.
While the lack of a complementary receiver is a glaring flaw, the solution proposed are themselves flawed. It would be great for the Texans to bring in a star receiver to play alongside Andre Johnson, but the salary cap situation the Texans are currently in will not allow for it.
If a star receiver were brought in for a big contract, you could all but bid farewell to several other established stars on the franchise, as the Texans would not have enough breathing room to re-sign them in the future.
The Texans must solve their receiver corps via the draft. If they were to do it in free agency, financial doom would be on the horizon.
Holding onto Shaun Cody
Times are changing in Houston. No longer will the franchise accept failure. No longer will it accept mediocrity. Now, the Texans only accept greatness and, in turn, they should only pay players who promote those ideals.
Unfortunately for Shaun Cody, he does not fit the mold of the new era that the Texans are trying to create.
Sure, he is a solid player who does not hurt the defense, but he does nothing to elevate it to new heights. A mountainous, talented nose tackle, meanwhile, certainly could.
In this year's draft, there happens to be a multitude of those types of nose tackles, which is good news for the Texans, but bad news for Cody.
It is time for the Texans to fully create a dominant defense and one of the first steps will be letting Cody hit the open market.
Letting Tim Dobbins Walk
Going into the 2013 season, the Texans have three inside linebacker under contract: Brian Cushing, who is recovering from an ACL tear, Darryl Sharpton, who is perhaps the most injury prone player on the Texans' roster and Mister Alexander, who is unproven in the NFL.
Bradie James and Tim Dobbins will be hitting the open market. Not very confidence-inspiring, is it?
The Texans would be wise to not offer James a contract, as he is aging and slowing, but Dobbins is a different player.
He is a stout goal-line defender notorious for coming up with big, much-needed stops. While he struggles in coverage, he is an excellent run-defender who attacks offensive linemen and often fights his way toward the football.
He will also come extremely cheap.
Dobbins offers important linebacker depth to a team decimated at the position and the Texans must keep him on the team.
Refusing to Spend Big Money on Glover Quin
One of the most known facts heading into free agency is that the Texans are in salary cap hell. They must do everything to avoid plunging further into the red.
It is also no secret that Glover Quin, the team's star safety, must be re-signed.
As free agency nears, these two ideologies will come into direct conflict. While the safety Quin will not demand as much money as an above-average pass-rusher, he will not come cheap.
In this situation, the Texans must rid themselves of the salary cap saving strategy. Quin is that important to the defense's success and it would be tragic for him to pushed away from the Texans because management was too afraid to offer him a larger-than-average safety contract.
Quin must be brought back. If not, the Texans will have made a huge mistake.