NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Justin Houston, Possible Robert Quinn Trade and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2019

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 13:  Outside linebacker Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes on defense against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half on December 13, 2018 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

In the NFL, quality pass-rushers rarely hit the open market. When they do, they don't tend to stay there very long. However, things are different in 2019, where edge-rushers Justin Houston, Ezekiel Ansah, Nick Perry, Vinny Curry, Adrian Clayborn and others are still available entering the second week of free agency.

Have we entered Bizarro World? No, not exactly. It's simply that the market was full of pass-rushing talent to begin with—Trey Flowers, Anthony Barr, Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Dante Fowler Jr. and Terrell Suggs have already signed deals—and the trades of Olivier Vernon and Dee Ford further diminished the demand for sack-artists.

This means that if teams are still looking to add pass-rushers, they have multiple options, even in Week 2. Here we'll examine some of the latest free-agency buzz surrounding the pass-rusher market.


Justin Houston Weighing Options

The Kansas City Chiefs released veteran pass-rusher Justin Houston in a cap-saving move, and it's actually rather remarkable that he's still available. He was listed at No. 8 in NFL.com's list of 101 best free agents this year.

Of course, this likely has more to do with Houston's desire to find the right fit than it does about the demand for the 30-year-old sack specialist.

"[He is] still trying to figure out where the right spot is," NFL Media's Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network. "Basically, since he's made so much money in his career, and because where we are in free agency, he's not really in a rush. Still biding his time, but I know he's down to just a couple finalists here."

Without knowing exactly what Houston is looking for—a chance at a Super Bowl, a fun environment, the right city—it's hard to guess who the finalists for his services are.

One thing we do know is that new Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas is trying to get Houston to join him in his new home:

Earl Thomas @Earl_Thomas

@JHouston50 @ravensnation is waiting on you bro 🤞🏾 #sacksonstacks #RavensFlock

Having both Thomas and Houston on the same defense would make life rough on opposing quarterbacks.


Cowboys, Saints Interested in Trading for Robert Quinn

The Dallas Cowboys are looking to add a pass-rusher. They gave Demarcus Lawrence the franchise tag, which keeps their best one in Dallas, but they also lost Randy Gregory to an indefinite suspension. This is why the sudden availability of Miami Dolphins pass-rusher Robert Quinn is of interest to Dallas.

According to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero, Dallas and Miami are engaged in trade talks involving Quinn:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Robert Quinn was spotted today on his way to visit the #Cowboys, who are in trade talks with the #Dolphins for the veteran DE, sources say. Quinn would need to agree to any deal. So, this is another step in the process, with a Dallas team that obviously needs pass rush.

The Cowboys aren't the only ones interested in acquiring Quinn, though. According to Rapoport, the New Orleans Saints are also in the mix:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

While the #Cowboys host #Dolphins pass-rusher Robert Quinn today, they are not the only team engaged in trade talks with Miami on Quinn. Source said the #Saints are also in the mix. Both teams have pass-rush needs.

New Orleans hasn't hidden its intentions to go all-in on the 2019 season. It's the reason Drew Brees restructured his contract to clear more than $10 million in cap space this offseason. Adding another pass-rusher would help Brees chase his second ring.

Quinn amassed 6.5 sacks in 2018 and has 15 over the past two seasons.


Bengals, Giants Interested in Vinny Curry

If the Cowboys or Saints cannot work a deal for Quinn—and they obviously both cannot—then perhaps Vinny Curry could be an option. He's still available, though he may not be for long.

Curry has already met with the Cincinnati Bengals. According to ESPN's Jordan Raanan, the New York Giants are also interested in adding him:

Jordan Raanan @JordanRaanan

Giants are in this mix for Vinny Curry as well, per source. Pass-rushing DE. They also still have interest in bringing back Kerry Wynn after Josh Mauro chose Raiders. Wynn has some options. #Giants #Bengals #NFLFreeAgency https://t.co/Q9dHiyUT9O

For the Bengals, the need for a pass-rusher is clear. Cincinnati logged just 34 sacks in 2018 while also allowing the most passing yardage in the league (275.9 yards per game). The Giants could use an edge-rusher after trading away Vernon.

While Curry hasn't generated eye-popping sack totals throughout his career—he's actually averaged 3.5 sacks per season—he is capable of generating pressure. He's one of the more under-the-radar edge-rushers on the market, but he could provide a bargain.

Curry was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers one year into a three-year, $23 million deal.