It's no secret that the Texans have tons of cap room available, especially with the recent cuts of Anthony Weaver, Ahman Green, and Ephraim Salaam, among others. The NFL is expanding the salary cap by $3 million, which should help Houston even further. So what will Bob McNair spend some of his wealth on? Defense, of course. Here are some of the best bets for Houston:
The Texans need help in the secondary, and there are a few very good safety options available. Tampa Bay safety Jermaine Phillips is the best safety available, and the Texans will have to compete with the Bucs, who went on a major salary purge Wednesday for his services.
Another option at safety is the recently released Gibril Wilson. Wilson had a very solid year with Oakland, tallying 129 tackles, and 2 INT's, and was jettisoned in a cap move as the Raiders spent a small fortune on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and punter Shane Lechler. The Texans and Eagles are two teams that are rumored to have shown much interest in the former Oakland safety.
UPDATE: Gibril Wilson has reportedly signed a multi-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.
One final option for the Texans at safety is 13-year veteran Brian Dawkins, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles. Dawkins has had a great run with Philadelphia, but the Eagles are looking to get younger at the position. Dawkins can still play, as he played in the Pro Bowl just a few weeks ago.
With Nnamdi Asomugha signing a new deal in Oakland, there really isn't too many upgrades as far as the cornerback position. The Texans will likely look for a new corner in the draft, to play opposite franchised corner Dunta Robinson. The team went the free agent route last year with Jacques Reeves, and they didn't receive the bang for the buck they were looking for.
Some draftable options in round one for Houston are Malcolm Jenkins from Ohio State and Vontae Davis from Illinois. Battle Red Nation will have complete draft profiles on both players soon, stay tuned.
A later round value for the Texans may be UCF corner Joe Burnett. Burnett has fantastic ball skills and good enough speed, and he offers elite level return ability, as he was the only player in the country to rank in the top ten in both kickoff and punt returns.
A rumor that has been hot over the last few weeks revolves around where Julius Peppers will play in 2009. Peppers has chosen four teams that he would like to play for, and there is reason to believe that the Texans may be one of the four. Peppers has been franchised by Carolina and they are reportedly willing to deal him for similar compensation to what Kansas City received for stud defensive end Jared Allen, first and third round picks.
The Texans are outwardly looking for a pass rusher opposite Mario Williams, and there are few options in free agency. An under the radar prospect who could represent an upgrade to the team is Chauncey Davis, formerly of Atlanta. Davis is a 26-year old defensive end that started just one game for the Falcons a year ago, but registered four sacks and a forced fumble.
A few defensive ends that the Texans showed great interest in during the NFL Combine were Tennessee's Robert Ayers and Cincinnati's Connor Barwin.
Houston also had interviews with Missouri safety William Moore, Southern Miss linebacker Gerald McGrath, Maryland guard Jaimie Thomas, and N.C. State running back Andre Brown, among others.
Texans Rumor Mill
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