With the NFL combine at the halfway point the new league year is closing and the free agency market is close to opening up. The Houston Texans have an interesting group of free agents that does not have much star power as a group. This could mean the exodus of some familiar faces that have been in Houston for some time especially some fan favorites.
There is no real reason for the Texans to break the bank or much less over pay for any of their upcoming free agents. They can negotiate with free agents before the new league year opens and could get some deals done before the market opens.
Garrett Graham (UFA)
There is only one real free agent the Texans really need to explore keeping and that is Garrett Graham. Graham has low miles on his body and showed he can be a contributor. 49 receptions and 545 yards and five touchdowns was a good showing for finally getting his opportunity to get time on the field. Buried on the depth chart since being drafted in 2010, Graham has waited his turn to get his chance to play.
It would be a welcomed sign to keep players that were drafted by the organization in-house than letting them walk. The benefit would be one less hole to fill on offense moving forward and let the team concentrate on other positions to fill.
It seems that Graham's future could be tied to veteran tight end Owen Daniels' future with the Texans. Losing one tight end on the depth chart is one thing, losing two creates more issues for the roster.
Middle of the Road
Joe Mays (UFA)
Earl Mitchell (UFA)
Elbert Mack (UFA)
Bryan Braman (RFA)
This group is a take it or leave it group, and as easily as they can keep this group they can replace them too. More of roster fillers there are two starters in the this group from last year in Earl Mitchell and Joe Mays. With the interest growing on Mitchell it could mean the end for his time in Houston. As for Mays he arrived at a reasonable cost and could probably be brought back at the same price, and was actually a good combination when Brian Cushing was healthy.
Braman is an interesting one and the Texans hold the final say on him if another team offers him a deal. He has been nothing more than a special teams player that has done very little on defense. Having another team offer him a deal could be a good thing where the Texans do not match the deal and get a draft pick for the coming year. A fan favorite, but with him with a down 2013 season as the special teams ace could be not enough to see him on the roster next season.
Elbert Mack ended up being a top special teams player for the Texans and in less game with the Texans was a top special teams tackler. He is a depth player that has some good experience and more importantly a key piece of the special teams unit. Mack could still be on his way out with the Texans looking to improve their depth in the secondary.
Time is Up
Andrew Gardner (UFA)
Greg Jones (UFA)
Antonio Smith (UFA)
Wade Smith (UFA)
Ben Tate (UFA)
Lestar Jean (RFA)
Deji Karim (RFA)
Terrell McClain (RFA)
Phillip Supernaw (ERFA)
Ricky Sapp (ERFA)
Ben Tate will find more money elsewhere, Wade Smith's injuries have slowed him the past two seasons and Antonio Smith feels he has an opportunity to make it back to Houston. Three familiar faces who look like their time in Houston is done, and letting them walk could be for the benefit for the team. All three have put in good time for the Texans, but A. Smith's play has declined while Tate and W. Smith have trouble staying healthy.
The rest of the free agent group have been free agent signings with the exception of Darryl Sharpton who can not stay healthy. With many holes that need to be filled, there could be good turnover within the roster by letting this group go.