Houston Texans: Nnamdi Asomugha Leads 5 Free Agents Houston Must Target

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIJuly 17, 2011

Houston Texans: Nnamdi Asomugha Leads 5 Free Agents Houston Must Target

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    With the NFL lockout soon to be coming to an end, it's about time for the Houston Texans and the rest of the NFL to gear up for free agency.  

    Houston could strut into the playoffs if they make the right moves on the free agent market, so following are five players that the Texans should target to achieve that goal.

    One of those players is Nnamdi Asomugha, who is one of the hottest names in the NFL right now.

    After a contract snag forced the Oakland Raiders to release Asomugha, the star cornerback will be courted by just about everyone in the league who needs help at that position. For several reasons, however, Nnamdi's best bet might be signing with the Texans.

    But who else should Houston pursue in their effort to fill out the depth chart and win the division for the first time ever?

    Here are a few of their prime options.

Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Oakland Raiders

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    Nnamdi Asomugha is widely considered the NFL's best cornerback (although both Darrelle Revis and Charles Woodson might have something to say about that).

    While the Raiders will try their best to resign him, teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins, the Houston Texans and many others will be rolling out huge offers in hopes to drastically improve their secondaries.

    Regardless of all the attention Asomugha will receive, signing with the Houston Texans might be his most intriguing option.

    Houston had been on the verge of making the playoffs for a couple of years in a row before taking a step back in 2010. Despite their 6-10 record, though, the Texans have a very talented football team that seems just a couple of close wins away from entering the postseason.

    Head coach Gary Kubiak was given a pardon by owner Bob McNair, and didn't waste any time in adding Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator. Phillips will implement a 3-4 scheme that should fit Houston's personnel almost flawlessly.

    In addition to the defensive makeover, stud Texans receiver Andre Johnson has expressed his interest in the team signing Asomugha and has personally taken it upon himself to recruit the elite corner.

    Some may feel it's more realistic to invest time in pursuing a guy like Cincinnati's Johnathan Joseph. However, the Cincinnati cornerback has expressed interest in staying with the Bengals, so in reality, Houston probably has a better shot at landing Asomugha. 

    The Texans may not have much chance of signing Nnamdi, but the rewards would be huge. 

Vonta Leach, FB, Houston Texans

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    Fullback Vonta Leach was the unsung hero during Arian Foster's breakout 2010 season, and Houston should try their best to hang on to him.

    Leach wants a big contract though, and Houston would have to fork over a lot to retain the All-Pro. I say it's worth it.

    The Texans need to be clicking on all cylinders if they want to make the playoffs, and the running game will play a big part in keeping the defense guessing. Since Leach played a big role in that last season, it's logical to assume Houston would miss him.

    And considering how close the Texans seem to making the playoffs, Leach's presence could conceivably be just enough to push them on through.  

Kris Jenkins, NT, New York Jets

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    Kris Jenkins is nearly 32-years-old, has had two ACL injuries and has played in only seven games the last two years.

    With that on the table, why in the world would the Houston Texans want to pursue him?

    First of all, Houston has little at the nose tackle position, which might be the only personnel flaw in the 4-3 to 3-4 switch. While Jenkins may be injury prone, he would be an upgrade were he to stay healthy.

    In addition, the Jets and anybody else may be very reluctant to sign him given his recent history and the Texans could conceivably get him for a very affordable price. 

    Jenkins was considered one of the most dominant interior linemen in the NFL not long ago, but it seems many people have forgotten. He's a potential bargain for anyone willing to take a chance on him.

    With few true nose tackles still on the market, Jenkins might be their best option. 

Jacoby Jones, WR, Houston Texans

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    Jacoby Jones is another Texan that Houston needs to hold on to.

    Jones has been a relative disappointment at receiver thus far despite being a weapon in the return game. However, he seemed to begin turning the corner towards the end of 2010 and the Texans would be wise to give him a one or two year extension.

    Jones could end up being a breakout player in the mold of Miles Austin, in which case Houston would have one of the best receiving duos in the country.

    That may be wishful thinking, but Jones has slowly but surely gotten better with each passing season, and if he is going to break out one of these years, 2011 would be the ideal time.

    I think there is a good chance of that, and Houston needs to stick with him. Worst case scenario, he makes no impact in the passing game and continues to be a special teams dynamo. Sounds like a win-win to me. 

Michael Huff, FS, Oakland Raiders

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    Michael Huff was a force for the NFL's second-ranked secondary in 2010. The Oakland Raiders will likely do their best to re-sign Huff as well, but retaining Huff and Nnamdi Asomugha is a best-case scenario.

    You could say the same about Houston signing both Huff and Asomugha, but it's not completely out of the question. And even if the Texans can't get Asomugha, Huff would be an outstanding consolation prize.

    Huff recorded 94 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles in 2010, and frankly, Houston has nobody even close to Huff's talent level at safety.

    Even if Houston were to miss out on an elite cornerback option like Asomugha or Johnathan Joseph, getting a great safety would allow them a little flexibility. They could go for someone a tier or two down from Asomugha or Joseph, such as Antonio Cromartie or Ike Taylor.

    Signing Huff would drastically improve the Texans' secondary—just what they need to get over the hump and into the playoffs.