Houston Texans: Three free agent offensive tackles to target

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Texans
Offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who should be targeted by the Houston Texans (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

Player #2: Jake Fisher

Now Jake Fisher isn’t a top-tier offensive tackle that is a free agent this season but there’s a good chance that he’d be able to get the job done.  Fisher would be a nice addition but one could likely make a case that it’d be better for the team to re-sign Lamm because of his familiarity of the offense and that his performance wasn’t earth-shattering but good enough.

According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, the 6-foot-6 Fisher has been working out with QBs in Los Angeles this off season and has shed his weight by 20 pounds, going from 305 to 285.  Rapoport said that he’s looking to re-invent himself as a blocking tight end.  I’d imagine this likely to increase his value on the market and demonstrate his versatility.

There’s whispers that he’s trying to become a full-time tight end but I honestly think that any team that wants to take a shot at him, to sign him regardless and see where it goes.  The fact that he’s lighter would certainly affect his ability to block on an offensive line scheme but I think it’s an inadequacy that most teams can overcome.

Will his new innovation work?  I think the Houston Texans should be the judge of that.  This team needs blocking tight ends as if they were going out-of-style and he’d be a nice complement to Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas.  I’m not sure if Ryan Griffin is necessarily a lock to return back next season and with the Griffin not being able to block effectively, the team may decide to move on from him.

It’s tough to gauge where the Cincinnati Bengals are at in terms of the 25-year-old’s free agency but with him trying to be a tight end and with Tyler Eifert‘s — who is a free agent as well — candidacy with new head coach Zac Taylor at the helm, it seems that Fisher is preparing for his departure from Cincy.

Fisher is just one season removed from a heart surgery that sidelined him for the last half of 2017 but he was able to appear in most of the Bengals’ games in 2018.  However, he was limited to just 45 overall snaps.  He did go on injured reserve just this past November with a back injury.

Fisher also has a history with the Houston Texans as well — he and J.J. Watt have consistently have gone at it over the years and I still recall particular play back in Week 2 of 2017 where Watt beat Fisher to get to Andy Dalton and Fisher stuck his leg out and tripped him.  There was no whistle blown on the play and it should’ve been a 10-yard penalty.

But I honestly don’t think that would hamper a free agency signing.  If one has the goods to produce, teams can make it work.  I’m sure Watt doesn’t necessarily like Fisher but a working relationship could certainly be forged.

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PFF has Fisher graded out at 53.9 overall, 49.0 pass block and 56.2 run block which isn’t great but passable enough for a team to sign him.  He didn’t allow any pressures or incur a penalty in all of 2018.  He took 25 of his 45 snaps at tight end — the rest at left tackle — so I definitely believe this is what prompted him to make such a marked change within his career.

To put things in perspective, Lamm’s grades were 64.7/75.9/49.7, while allowing 35 pressures — including just five sacks — and only four penalties in 2018.

The better option would certainly be Lamm but Fisher could be an option if the Texans were looking for something different with some extra versatility.

Will it be for the better?  We’re about to find out soon.