Teams of the NFL are starting to trim away at rosters, getting ready for both the upcoming start of the league year plus the opening of free agency. Notable names have come to the free agent market over the past few weeks and a few of the now-available players could spark interest for the Houston Texans.
The Texans, like all teams, are evaluating their roster and players who could fit into their plans for the near future. More importantly, the landscape of the NFL changes day-to-day and more players down the line will be released, adding to the pool of players.
Let’s take a quick look at some interesting names of players who could solve some issues for the Texans.
The Texans know the right tackle position is one of the biggest needs to address for the up coming season. Derek's Newton appears to be in position to miss the entire 2017 season with two brutal knee issues suffered simultaneously in 2016 and Chris Clark's struggles were well documented from last season. Call it a stroke of luck but the offensive tackle market is filling up with veteran options who could be exactly what the Texans need for the now.
Kelvin Beachum, Ryan Clady, Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini have all been cut by their respective teams over the past weeks and could help at either tackle spot. Now, each tackle has their struggles due to age or injury history, but any of them could be the stop gap that is needed.
Beachum was Jacksonville's prized free agent prior to the 2016 season but was released after just one season, playing 15 games at left tackle. Beachum also played right tackle when he was in Pittsburgh giving him some versatility at only 27 years old. Considered better in pass protection than run blocking, Beachum could be one of the more intriguing names on the market.
Clady at one point in time was a high level player, but injuries zapped him of what he once was. In 2016, Clady started 8 games for the Jets after the Denver Broncos traded him prior to the season which ultimately ended with Clady suffering a torn rotator cuff. Clady has missed 30 games since 2013 which is not optimal in his chances to find a team in the NFL.
Okung was on the Texans' radar prior to signing with the Broncos which ended after just one season. Okung did start all 16 games at left tackle but the group struggled as a unit to keep the Broncos quarterback upright. There is some desire for the Broncos to possibly sign Okung to a cheaper deal and, for the Texans, it would take a position change to make Okung fit their needs.
Giacomini missed the majority of last season due to a back injury after starting two straight seasons for the Jets at right tackle. Current Texans offensive line coach Mike Devlin has an idea on what Giacomini can bring when healthy but it will take a clean bill of health to feel good about bringing him in. There have already been whispers of the Seattle Seahawks wanting to bring back Giacomini to play right tackle.
Other available players who the Texans could look into include:
Center Nick Mangold, who was recently cut by the Jets after 11 years and has made it clear that he wants to play for a contender. Mangold, 33-years old, is a former pupil of Devlin who coached with the Jets. Mangold could help at center but he missed extended time due to an ankle injury. If Mangold is an option, it would probably clear the way for Nick Martin to move to one of the guard positions.
Defensive tackle Jared Odrick has the ability to play in four man fronts and the 3-4 defense and, with how the Texans play their fronts, Odrick has some value. Odrick missed 8 games due to an elbow injury but over the years has given the Texans fits from the interior. At 29, Odrick will be highly coveted on the market with what he can do in the trenches. Texans director of player personnel, Brian Gaine, has a good idea what Odrick can bring to the table because Gaine was the assistant director of player personnel with the Dolphins when they drafted Odrick out of Penn State.
Alterraun Verner's veteran presence in the defensive backfield will not be overlooked as teams start calling. A career year with Tennessee in 2013 lead to a big payday with Tampa Bay the following off-season, however his production has declined over the past three seasons. Still, with cornerbacks at premium, Verner could come at a low cost to help fill the depth for the season.
The offensive tackle group will be monitored closely due to the weak free agent market and with the Texans knowing they need help, every option will be vetted. Cornerback will be another spot the Texans will watch closely due to the lack of depth on the current roster and uncertain future of A.J. Bouye.
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