The offseason for the Houston Texans can be described in one word.
The team is coming off a 4-12 campaign in which the team underperformed on a weekly basis. They have had to hear criticism from the national media about the moves they have and have not made, and they are embattled in a tough fight with their franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, who reportedly wants to be traded.
They hired a new coach from the Baltimore Ravens, David Culley, who no one really ever knew, and they brought in Nick Caserio from New England to be the new GM of the team, a move that reportedly created friction since Deshaun Watson wanted a say on who was going to run the team moving forward.
The Texans have said they have no intention of trading Watson, but they really don’t have a choice despite having Watson under contract, and it might be smart to simply try and get as much as possible for him and move on.
If the team eventually makes a move to trade the quarterback, it’s not going to come cheap, as the team wants no less than two first-round picks for his services, and they will also then have to fill the QB spot if he is moved. The club has already cut ties with their all-time most popular player, rusher J.J. Watt, who inked a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Texans have 19 listed free agents, many of whom won’t be back after the tough 2020 season since the team will look to get younger and hopefully better.
Here’s a list of free agents for the Texans as free agency kicks off in a few weeks.
QB A.J. McCarron
RB Buddy Howell*
RB Dontrell Hilliard*
WR Will Fuller
TE Pharaoh Brown*
RT Brent Qvale
LT Roderick Johnson
EDGE Brennan Scarlett
DT P.J. Hall*
IDL Carlos Watkins
LB Tyrell Adams
LB Dylan Cole
LB Kyle Emanuel
CB A.J. Moore*
CB Cornell Armstrong*
CB Vernon Hargreaves
CB Phillip Gaines
CB Gareon Conley
S Michael Thomas
LS Jon Weeks
Offseason Outlook: There is so much that is negative about this franchise right now, it really feels that the only way this team can go is up.
They 100 percent have to figure out what to do with Watson. The quarterback has reportedly said over and over he does not want to play in Houston in 2021, and he’s basically holding the Texans hostage to move him.
Two teams that have quarterbacks who could slide right in and be a starter if they move Watson are the Jets (Sam Darnold) and the Dolphins (Tua Tagovailoa.)
The Texans are $31 million over the cap as free agency closes in, so most of their roster is likely going to be different when the 2021 season starts.
The question now is what this team does to try and build goodwill among their fans and to find a way to talk their franchise quarterback into staying.
It’s all easier said than done, and it’ll be up to their new front office and coaching staff to try and put what has already gone wrong in 2021 behind them.
If the new regime can live up to the challenge, the Texans can be a surprise in 2021. If not, it’ll be another long and tough season for the team that was eight games under .500 in 2020.