The Houston Texans had such a terrible season in 2013 that their wish list was growing even before Matt Schaub threw his fourth pick-six in Week 5.
Schaub had proven he was not the answer at quarterback just one season after signing a four-year extension for $62 million. That scrambled any plans GM Rick Smith had to concentrate on shoring other deficiencies on the roster.
Now the rebuilding process was all about finding a quarterback. Problem areas such as offensive line, defensive backs and linebackers became lower priorities when exploring possible free agents and draft prospects.
The top overall pick in the draft belongs to Houston. In some years using it can be an easy decision, as in 2012 when Andrew Luck was the standout choice. The Kansas City Chiefs had to settle for Eric Fisher in 2013, an offensive tackle who will never reach the prominence of Luck or maybe even Duane Brown.
Pursing free agents will be trickier since there is not much room under the Texans’ salary cap to go after the most attractive candidates. Any acquisitions made via this route will be the result of bargain shopping.
The first step in this process is identifying who you want. The next step is to decide how to go about paying for them. This can require releasing players under contract, then using the savings to sign less costly talent.
A good guideline for signing unrestricted free agents (UFAs) is their cap hit from last season. What draft choices are paid is determined by slotting, and the clubs drafting them have little say in the matter.
What follows is a possible scenario about how Smith and recently hired head coach Bill O’Brien will go about putting this franchise back on track.
Salary cap information courtesy of Spotrac.com unless otherwise noted.
Draft analysis courtesy of NFLDraftScout.com unless otherwise noted.