For at least the past month now, there has been speculation that the Houston Texans would pursue Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency, assuming there will be a free agency. In fact, a recent article on NFL.com suggests that Asomugha will be a high priority for the struggling secondary of the Texans.
However, on a team that is remaking its defense (i.e. switching from the 4-3 to a 3-4), spending exuberant amounts of money on a player that does not want to play for your team makes no sense. Add to that the fact that the Texans are at risk of losing the best fullback in the NFL, and I believe that is obvious that Asomugha's chances are better elsewhere.
Granted, the Texans are at a crossroads. Gary Kubiak, and the entire coaching staff for that matter, is on the hot seat this season. Putting together a playoff caliber team must be the top priority for him, but I believe that there are better options available.
Perhaps the best options for Houston, should they pursue a DB in free agency, would include: Johnathan Joseph (CIN), Brent Grimes (ATL) or Richard Marshall (CAR). Each of these players comes with at least four years of experience and a much smaller price-tag than that of Asomugha.
Statistically, Richard Marshall would be a relatively safe and smart signing for the Texans. When compared to Asomugha, the numbers don't lie. In 2010, Marshall had 74 tackles, one sack, three INTs and a forced fumble compared to Asomugha's 17 tackles, no sacks, no INTs and no forced fumbles. Additionally, Marshall is three years younger than Asomugha, making him, perhaps, more likely to be healthy in the long-run.
Not to be forgotten, Brent Grimes had 76 tackles and five interceptions while Johnathan Joseph had 37 tackles and three interceptions in the 2010 season.
Individually, each player had better overall stats than Asomugha last season. Each player would come with a cheaper price tag, and each would be a viable solution to adding depth to Houston's secondary.
Don't get me wrong, Nnamdi Asomugha is a lights-out, shut-down corner, but I don't believe that he is the golden-child whom Houston must pursue in order to reach the playoffs. If they were to look at each of the options available, they would be better off going with the likes of Marshall while holding onto their Pro Bowl FB Vonta Leach.
Additionally, with core players' contracts expiring in the next couple of seasons, signing Asomugha would tie-up some of the much needed salary cap space that the Texans would need in order to resign the likes of Mario Williams, Arian Foster or Matt Schaub.
Making the smart choice does not always seem like it is the right choice. However, investing in a DB that wants a league best salary, with mediocre stats, does not make sense. Houston should pursue other options aggressively, possibly signing two of the other available free agents I mentioned. That would make the Texans a playoff caliber team!