Let’s start from the top. We know that the Texans could possibly be without Derek Newton for all of next season due to the severity of his injury. Chris Clark is still under contract but the Texans have enough film to realize they need to upgrade the position group behind Duane Brown. Kendall Lamm is part of the equation but he is going to have to make a big jump heading into 2017.
Newton still has three years remaining on his current contract and if there is a chance he can not play in 2017, the Texans still have to pay his contract. The Texans will be facing a tough decision on Newton's future but there are some options on how to address the situation.
One positive for the Texans is the who have been released early from their contract, making them unrestricted free agents. All are veterans who have been plus players at some point of their careers but who now have seen some more recent struggles. When factoring in the potential injury/age risks of soon-to-be free agents Andrew Whitworth (Cincinnati) and Matt Kalil (Minnesota) who could help, there may be too much risk involved.
The Texans know that their right side of the line needs to be addressed but, lucky for them, there will be plenty of options for the team to scour to make the right choice.
That is the million dollar question concerning J.J. Watt: the status of his back. Watt admitted that he was his own worst enemy when it came to recovering from his back injury early in the 2016 season. He has now changed his workout regimen and in concentrating on strengthening his core muscles to help his back out.
We know that Watt is in training-for-football mode and expects to be back on the field for OTAs, however he will be held out by the team when it comes time.
Watt is doing everything he can to get back to what he was as a player prior to the injury. It will be interesting to see how his health goes, but there should still be concern due to the phsycial nature of the game and the type of injury Watt had.
The only current possibility meeting that criteria is Michael Floyd who was claimed by the Patriots after being waived by the Arizona Cardinals. Floyd was recently sentenced to jail time due to his second DUI since arriving to the NFL and, with the Texans passing on him when he was waived, it is hard to see them taking a chance on him when Floyd hits free agency.
Brandon Marshall no doubt is a talent on the field, especially the numbers he can put up when he gets the football in his hands. Marshall is due $7.5 million heading into 2017 with the New York Jets with zero guaranteed money. It appears the Jets will be set to release him to open up more cap room.
Having played for four teams in his 11-year career, Marshall can produce but it is hard to see the Texans bringing his personality into the locker room.
A linebacker like Mychal Kendricks would be a nice addition to the Texans, especially given the need for a linebacker to pair alongside Benardrick McKinney in the near future. Kendricks is a player who can tackle and heat up the quarterback when needed, but there is one slight issue: his contract.
Falling out of favor with the Eagles in 2016, it appears Kendricks is on his way out, possibly by trade. Kendricks has cap hits of $6.6 (2017), $7.6 (2018), and $8.6 (2019), and those are numbers teams want to trade for.
This is about maximizing the salary cap year-to-year and adding Kendricks would be great for the on field play but a road bump for future contracts. Now if Kendricks would be willing to re-do his contract to land on a new team and drop his cap number to around $5-6 million a year, then teams could possibly change their approach to land him.
It is hard to see the Texans making a move like that especially when you can get a younger and cap friendly player from the draft or free agency.
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