The Return of Brandon Dunn and What it Means for the Texans

Patrick D. Starr

The return of Brandon Dunn is a welcomed sight for a slow news cycle for the Houston Texans. The Texans added Dunn back to the mix for the 2020 and beyond with a three-year deal worth $12 million. 

The Texans took care of one of their free agents before the new league year opened, and we took a closer look at what it means for the team. 

General Manager Bill O'Brien First Signing

General Manager Bill O'Brien made his first move last week in the position by releasing Vernon Hargreaves, III. Now, he officially signed his first player in his new job. O'Brien will soon start being graded closer with his moves with no one else but him on top of the Texans food chain. The moves will be looked at closely as they continue with O'Brien officially at the helm. 

Texans Retain at Least One of their Run Stoppers 

Brandon Dunn is a run-stopping plus player for the defense, and 44% of his tackles came 2 yards or less from the line of scrimmage. Dunn does the dirty work for the Texans interior, helping keep both Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham clean to make plays. An unselfish player, Dunn is willing to eat up blockers and work within the system. The Texans like a bigger interior defensive lineman and keeping Dunn stays with that mentality under new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver. 

Keeping One of Their Own That Has Paid His Dues

The Texans retained one of their unrestricted free agents in Dunn. The 27-year old defensive lineman has been a survivor and, more importantly, a player that has improved with the Texans. Arriving after being signed from the Chicago Bears practice squad in 2015, the Texans bounced him around between the practice squad and active roster. Waived three times by the Texans since arriving from the Bears, Dunn was able to land a reserve/futures contract in 2017. 

Going from an exclusive rights free agent in 2018 to a restricted free agent in 2019 to now landing a three-year deal in his 6th year in the NFL should not be overlooked. Dunn is the definition of grinder and precisely what the Texans look for in their foundational players. 

Less Pressure to Bring Back D.J. Reader 

The Texans had their two best run stoppers from the past two seasons set to hit free agency in Dunn and D.J. Reader. The tandem of Dunn and Reader helped anchor the rush defense for the Texans, and losing both would have put the team searching for answers. 

Bringing back, Dunn puts less pressure on the Texans to break the bank for Reader. They attempted to re-sign Reader before the start of the season, but nothing could come together between the two sides. 

Dunn has a low-cost average per year, and it would allow the Texans to either bargain shop for veteran defensive lineman looking for one-year deals or look to the draft for a player to develop. 

It all depends on how the team handles the Reader situation, but it is hard to see the Texans breaking the bank to keep him around in 2020. Investing in Dunn has opened the door for the Texans to move forward without Reader.

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