Houston Texans: Top Targets During Free Agency
There has been much speculation about whom the Texans will pursue once the free agent market opens up. With the newly installed 3-4 defense of Wade Phillips, the Texans will be looking to fill in some holes on the defensive side of the ball.
Perhaps the greatest need for the struggling Texans is at the cornerback position. While there will be multiple free agent options, at that position, the Texans will be looking to spend big money in order to pursue some of the best in the league.
While I had previously postulated that Nnamdi Asomugha would not be the best option for the Texans, I may have to eat some crow as he is "rumored" to be the prime target for the Texans. Following are the players whom I believe should be considered by the Texans in order to make the team a winning team, capable of reaching the playoffs.
Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Oakland Raiders
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Considered by most to the best shutdown corner in the NFL, the Texans will be heavily courting Asomugha during free agency.
His blazing speed, great awareness and ability to get to the ball make him a threat that most opposing quarterbacks try to avoid. In fact, his mediocre numbers from last season, 17 tackles and 6 passes deflected, is more of a reflection of his fear factor than it is his ability to play the position.
Nnamdi will be looking to have a huge payday and the Texans front office will have to dig deep in order to wrangle in this superstar.
While many commentators have speculated that his relationship with Andre Johnson will help "seal the deal" perhaps the greater factor will be the paycheck. The Texans will have to compete with the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles to sign Asomugha.
Jerry Jones, who is known to spend exuberant amounts of money on his players, could seal the fate of the Houston Texans.
Johnathan Joseph, CB, Cincinatti Bengals
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Johnathan Joseph is quickly becoming a high-value target as teams look to secure a starting cornerback. While he may not be the superstar that Asomugha is, he will not require a paycheck as large as Asomugha will.
With a 40-yard time of 4.3, Joseph has the speed necessary to be an effective corner. With 14 interceptions in five years of play, he has shown that he has what it takes to be a menace to opposing receivers, disrupting plays and returning interceptions for touchdowns.
Should the Texans miss out, or decide against pursuing Asomugha, Johnathan Joseph, in my opinion, would be their next best choice.
Richard Marshall, CB, Carolina Panthers
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Richard Marshall would be another solid pick for the Texans secondary. While his 40-yard time is slightly slower than Joseph's (4.42 as opposed to sub 4.40) his ability to make plays on the ball keeps him in the running for the Texans.
Likewise, his career stats help solidify his standing as one of the better backs available as he has 41 passes deflected, 14 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles in his first five years in the league. His diminishing stats, as related to passes deflected, can be attributed to the fact that many quarterbacks try to avoid throwing the ball to his side of the field.
In order for the Texans to sign him, they would most likely have to give up a second-round pick, but the trade off would be more valuable for the Texans. Look for Marshall to be on the Texans radar when they begin to shop around.
Gerald Sensabaugh, CB, Dallas Cowboys
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NFL network insider Jason La Canfora calls the Cowboys' CB Gerald Sensabaugh a "logical free-agent candidate" for the safety position on the Texans roster.
With the transition of Glover Quin from CB to safety, the loss of Bernard Pollard and the depth at the safety position, Sensabaugh would be a sensible choice for the Texans.
However, if the Texans were to acquire Asomugha in free-agency, I do not see them pursuing another player of high value such as Sensabaugh. If they prove me wrong, however, he will bring the experience of Wade Phillips' defensive scheme with him, which could prove invaluable to the Texans.
Look for Sensabaugh to be a "dark horse" free agent signing for the Texans. Many people have not mentioned his name as an option for the Texans, but I believe that he would be a good fit for the the team as they look to push into the playoffs in 2011.