The Houston Texans sat on the sidelines after a flurry of moves across the NFL to open up the 2013 free agency period, and fans and critics were questioning motives of the Texans' front office. Especially after watching their own players walk, specifically the puzzling departure of priority number one during free agency, Glover Quin. Throw in signings of Connor Barwin, James Casey, Justin Forsett and Alan Ball to other teams, the Texans' roster was taking a huge step back.
Then the news came out that free agent Ed Reed was coming to visit the Houston Texans and then the plan started to unfold for the Texans. Glover Quin rejected the Texans' first offer during free agency which led the Texans to put the full court press on Reed.
“Like Ed said today, the more we talked, the more we realized this was something both of us were interested in. Did that affect my offer to GQ? Yeah. I was clear to Ed that I was comfortable assuming the risk of losing GQ to exhaust myself to add him to our team.” Taken from the Houston Chronicle
Texans General Manager Rick Smith
After a long chase, the Texans finally caught their big fish of free agency in Ed Reed and that set plenty of minds at ease for the early part of the offseason.
Out of the Box
The signing of Reed goes against anything that Texans fans expected from the front office, and no one could have predicted this move. Plenty of doubters of General Manager Rick Smith have said this team is too vanilla and not ready to take a risk, but that was all put to rest with the signing of Reed. They signed a hall of famer closing out his career and a player who wants to come to Houston and help bring a championship to the Texans.
To make the signing ever better was the deal that Smith and the Texans gave to Reed a 3 year, $15 million deal with $5 million being guaranteed. ($3.33 against the 2013 salary cap) This is a deal that works favorably for the Texans in the short and long term direction of the team.
Add Reed to Danieal Manning, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph, on paper the secondary already looks like it is an upgrade despite adding the older Reed. The secondary will have to evolve with Reed patrolling center-field for the Texans, but he will control opposing quarterbacks from taking chances deep against the defense.
It is a risk, but a risk that is worth taking for signing Reed. The Texans now have game changers at every level of the defense with J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Joseph and Reed, which makes this a more dangerous unit.
- The Texans over the weekend added another player in Shane Lechler who has been arguably one of the best punters in NFL history. Considered a down season in 2012, Lechler will improve the Texans' special teams in a big way. In 2011, Lechler averaged over 50 yards a punt and now, returning home to close out his career, the 13 year veteran wants to punt at least 7 more seasons. He has been doing it at a high enough level which is better than what the Texans have had at any point in franchise history.
- We have said many times that bringing Brice McCain was one of the top priorities for the Texans and he ended up being the first unrestricted free agent the team has signed. McCain was a key piece for the Texans defense and when on top of his game is one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the game. McCain, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph are in the top five in the NFL of cornerback trios, and they will be together again. Plenty of issues arose in pass defense after McCain was placed on the injured reserve after breaking his foot against the Tennessee Titans last season.
McCain brought back with his contract is a big win for the Texans.
- The Texans signed their only restricted free agent in offensive tackle, Andrew Gardner. This will mark the third season with the team and, at 26 years old, Gardner will have every opportunity to make the 53 man roster coming out of camp. He will be back-up offensive tackle for the Texans, but not the swing tackle the team is looking for. Gardner provides depth and with Derek Newton coming off of knee surgery during the offseason, the Texans are making sure they have players that know the system.