NFL Analysis

Houston Texans Free Agency Outlook

Houston Texans Free Agency Preview

Coming off their second consecutive four win season, the Houston Texans head into the offseason holding the 3rd overall pick in the 2022 draft and $15.16 million in cap space to spend this offseason. They fired head coach David Culley after one season despite his success with one of the worst rosters in the NFL and promoted defensive coordinator Lovie Smith as his heir apparent.

Their biggest question mark surrounds their current situation at quarterback with Deshaun Watson. Watson’s future with the team is likely over but they have the potential to trade him for a plethora of future assets. As it stands currently, Houston has four draft picks inside the top 100 and nine picks total in the 2022 draft. 

Update: The Texans now have $18,324,833 available in cap space.

Houston’s Impending Free Agents

  • QB Tyrod Taylor (UFA)
  • IDL Maliek Collins (UFA)
  • RB David Johnson (UFA)
  • C Justin Britt (UFA)
  • LB Christian Kirksey (UFA)
  • CB Desmond King (UFA)
  • LB Eric Wilson (UFA)
  • LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (UFA)
  • CB A.J. Moore (UFA)
  • WR Danny Amendola (UFA)
  • S Terrence Brooks (UFA)
  • LB Neville Hewitt (UFA)
  • TE Pharaoh Brown (UFA)
  • EDGE DeMarcus Walker (UFA)
  • IDL Vincent Taylor (UFA)
  • WR Chris Conley (UFA)
  • EDGE Chris Smith (UFA)
  • S Justin Reid (UFA)
  • LT Geron Christian (UFA)
  • LB Hardy Nickerson (UFA)
  • TE Antony Auclair (UFA)
  • WR Chris Moore (UFA)
  • QB Jeff Driskel (UFA)
  • LG Lane Taylor (UFA)
  • IDL Jaleel Johnson (UFA)
  • RB Royce Freeman (UFA)
  • RB Cole Toner (UFA)
  • TE Jordan Akins (UFA)
  • EDGE Jacob Martin (UFA)
  • CB Terrance Mitchell

Not many players who are entering free agency for Houston should be retained. Maybe a select few backups with the exception of linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. Grugier-Hill is an established special teams contributor and had his best statistical season in 2021 with Houston because he assumed a starting role on their defense. 108 TOTs, 13 TFLs, and 3 sacks was as good as it could get for Houston’s defense and retaining him brings back a veteran presence and someone who knows the defense Lovie Smith is trying to run. Houston needs to get younger and find talent that fits in their system. 

Franchise Tag

The franchise tag deadline has come and gone. Justin Reid was the only player who Houston should have considered franchise tagging. He’s 25 years old and has shown he can be a consistent player in their secondary over the last four years. However, 2021 was his worst statistical season–his franchise tag number would have been $13.54 million. Houston is nowhere close to competing and keeping Reid could have made their current cap situation worse. 

Top Team Needs:

  1. EDGE
  2. Cornerback 
  3. Linebacker

Houston has holes everywhere on their roster and arguably have a need at every position but their top 3 team needs all come from the defensive side of the football. They desperately need an EDGE rusher–they ranked 29th in total pressures generated despite Jonathan Greenard having a breakout season, finishing with 8 sacks and 12 QB hits in 12 games.

Their cornerback room has little to no talent outside of 2019 second round pick Lonnie Johnson Jr. Both their outside cornerback starters will be free agents this offseason. Terrance Mitchell is expected to be released and Desmond King is hitting the market as a UDFA. Lastly, their linebacker room has four impending free agents, including two starters, in Christian Kirksey, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Eric Wilson, and Hardy Nickerson.