Orlando Pace was one of the best left tackles in NFL history.

Turns out, he was nearly a Houston Texans left tackle, too.

Back in 2005, when Pace was 30 and entering his eighth pro season, the St. Louis Rams opted to use the franchise tag for the second straight year, as talks toward a long-term contract stalled.

His agent at the time was based in Houston. The Texans, then in existence for only three years, needed help at the position.

As Pace tells it, a trade was this close to happening.

“It was just a matter of working out some of those trade details,” Pace said to Cody and John on “In The Loop” on SportsRadio 610. “But as far as I’m concerned, that deal was done. It was a done deal.”

The What If? game stemming from that turn of events is a fascinating one. What if the deal had been consummated, and Pace spent the last five years of his career in Houston? Would it have been enough to save David Carr’s career? Dom Capers job?

It’s worth noting, from that point on, Pace only played one full season for the rest of his career, in 2005. After that he missed eight games in 2006, 15 in 2007 and seven in 2008 and 2009 combined.

Still, it’s hard to hear that one of the best players in the history of the sport, at one of the most important positions in the sport, nearly called Houston home for a half decade.