Houston (CBS Houston) – We’ll begin by taking a look at the remaining needs of the Houston Texans that we believe can be addressed in free agency and work from there. They’ve signed a backup quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick while nose tackle Jerrell Poe was signed last week to help anchor Romeo Crennel’s ‘34’ defense. The Texans also addressed their need at free safety with the signing of Kendrick Lewis who last played with Kansas City along with Poe.
But, stability deep in the secondary might not be an issue. The question is whether or not Danieal Manning will remain with the team. He is set to earn $4.5 million this season. However, Manning will be a free agent in 2015.
Therefore, there are at least three other positions that most likely are getting a hard look and those are cornerback, wide receiver, and running back.
There is still some uncertainty surrounding running back Arian Foster who tweeted on March 16th that he’s been medically cleared to play by his doctor. He knows his body better than anyone. But, it’s also fair to say that the Texans know their situation better than anyone as time ticks towards OTA’s, the NFL Draft, and training camp.
So, going after a backup running back that could start if Foster, who turns 28 in August, isn’t ready or gets hurt, wouldn’t be a bad idea. Having a guy in the lineup with starting experience is even better. Therefore, one suggestion is Maurice Jones-Drew. The 29-year-old Jones-Drew won’t be a direct threat to Arian unless Arian can’t play. However, competition is always good.
Regardless, MJD would be a great insurance policy and you’d figure that he would prefer to immerse himself into a running-back-by-committee scenario which will certainly help extend his career for at least 2 seasons. He rushed for 803 yards on 234 carries and caught 43 passes for 314 yards in 15 games during the 2013 season.
During 2009 through 2011, MJD was spectacular as he rushed for 1391, 1324, and 1606 respectively. In fact, during the 2009 season, he scored 15 touchdowns which says that he was Jacksonville’s primary threat. Jones-Drew is seeking $3.5 million which is pricey. However, this is one in which the Texans should show interest.
Knowshon Moreno is 26 and taller at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds. But, can he be that every-down back in case Foster can’t deliver? He did have a good 2013 in a Denver offense that featured running backs by committee.
Moreno rushed for 1083 yards and 10 touchdowns during their Super Bowl season. He also caught a whopping 60 passes for 548 yards and 3 touchdowns. Problem is, Moreno will be looking to start and Miami, which could offer a long-term deal, will be the better option unless the Texans can pull another rabbit out of the hat.
The Texans are set at wide receiver, at least with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. Keshawn Martin and DeVier Posey need to make big strides. Second-year receiver Alan Bonner is still on the roster. If he’s going to have any shot at staying, he will need to make a sterling impression if he gets the opportunity.
Hence, signing a free agent at this position might be a luxury – unless that receiver is DeSean Jackson. He’s a burner who the Philadelphia Eagles seem to be ready to unload if they can’t find a trade partner according to www.nfl.com.
Several teams have shown interest such as the Jets, Seahawks, San Francisco, Oakland, and Carolina. The question regarding the Texans is whether or not they can afford him. Jackson led the Eagles in receptions, yards, and touchdowns in 2013 and could do something similar in 2014 depending on where he lands.
The Texans need a versatile wideout with the added ability of returning punts and kickoffs. Josh Cribbs turns 31 in June. If he’s completely healthy from the torn pectoral and shoulder injuries that hampered him last season, he could be an option. Austin Collie is accustomed to playing in three and four receiver sets- he played with two very well structured organizations in Indianapolis and New England.
This is a definite need for the Texans. There’s uncertainty surrounding Jonathan Joseph, even as well as he has played during his 8-year career. Joseph started 15 games in 2013. But, remember in 2012, he battled a pair of sports hernias and groin and hamstring issues. Joseph said after the season that he had those injuries fixed. However, during the 2013-14 season, Joseph seemed to show reoccurring signs of those same injuries when challenged.
If he passes the health test, great! But, he’s due to earn $7.5 million this season and the Texans will want to get their money’s worth.
But, just in case a replacement is needed, there are at least two CB’s who might fit the bill for at least a season. Asante Samuel is 33 years old and could have at least one more season in him. The bonus for the Texans is that it won’t be necessary to break the bank for a player who’s looking to make one last stand and who can play well if he’s healthy.
If the Texans are looking for a nickel or a dime back, Drayton Florence could be the guy. He’s 33 and won’t turn 34 until December. He could be worth the gamble. Last season Florence graded out as the 22nd best cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus. He played with a dominant Carolina Panther defensive front-seven that gave him and the secondary plenty of help.
The Texans need that same type of help if they are going to be competitive even at a minimum. It’s going to be a matter of the choices they make during free agency.
Meanwhile, we wait.