The Texans, unfortunately, will be forced to say goodbye to countless free agents this offseason.
Although it will not be ideal for this to happen, the salary cap dictates all. The salary cap right now is dictating that the Texans shall not be allowed to retain their free agents.
The fact of the matter is that the Texans do not have the money to bring back all of their free agents, even the majority of them. The flip-side of that, though, is that the majority of their free agents were not consistent contributors throughout 2012.
Shaun Cody, despite being the starting nose tackle, is largely ineffective. He rarely makes any significant contributions and a larger, more athletic nose tackle could dramatically improve the defense.
Connor Barwin, despite breaking out in 2011, had a terrible season last year. He failed to generate consistent pressure and he failed in his role as a primary pass-rusher.
Brice McCain is a valuable nickel cornerback, but re-signing him will likely come with a hefty price. Brandon Harris, McCain's backup, steadily improved over the course of last season, and he could potentially fill McCain's role seamlessly.
Letting all of these free agents walk would prevent the Texans from spending unneeded cap room. It could also free up room on the roster to allow them to pursue play-makers in the draft—especially some of the extremely talented nose tackles.