HOUSTON - There will be a new defense in line for the Houston Texans come 2021. Under Lovie Smith, Houston is expected to move to a 4-3 front instead of their base 3-4.
Another name has been added to make the transition run smoother.
The Texans have agreed a one-year contract with defensive tackle Maliek Collins. The deal will come with a maximum value of $6 million, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus and was first reported by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Both Texans and the state of Texas should be well aware of Collins' name from his days up the highway. Drafted out of Nebraska in 2016, Collins began his career with the Dallas Cowboys, starting in Rod Marinelli's 4-3 front.
This past offseason, Collins rejoined Marinelli on the defensive line with the Las Vegas Raiders. He recorded 15 tackles and no sacks last season in 12 games last season with his new club.
Smith's new defensive front has the Texans adding different defenders left and right. Houston recently traded away linebacker Benardrick McKinney to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for edge rusher Shaq Lawson. On Monday, Houston agreed to a one-year deal with Kamu Grugier-Hill from the Dolphins worth $3,25 million.
Houston also signed former Green Bay Packers linebacker Christin Kirksey to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million earlier this month.
Collins should return to his role as a preferred 3-tech in the new front. Lawson, who played stronger as a defensive end, should have the chance to thrive once more from a three-point stance. Kirksey should return to the middle as while tackling-leader Zach Cunningham should command the outside.
In 73 career games, Collins has 62 tackles, 14.5 sacks and one forced fumble. The 25-year-old also has 41 career quarterback hits and 20 tackles for losses in five seasons. In Dallas, he was thought of promising and productive but his career was slowed by a series of foot ailments. A healthy Collins can be a helper here.
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