Houston Texans: Team needs to target RT Jermey Parnell in free agency

Free agent offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, who should be targeted by the Houston Texans (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Free agent offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, who should be targeted by the Houston Texans (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

A talented offensive tackle is now available on the free agent market and Houston Texans need to pounce. Here’s why the team should target Jermey Parnell.

The Houston Texans are just days away from the free agency season opening next week and I get giddy like a kid in the candy store in regard to who this team has on their shopping list.  In past seasons, I wouldn’t waste much energy on free agency because Rick Smith was obsessed with developing undrafted free agents.

Some of those guys — like A.J. Bouye — have turned into some nice stars but ultimately, you want to make a splash in free agency to signal to your fan base that you’re seriously committed in bringing the best available talent to win football games.

With general manager Brian Gaine at the helm, he was able to scoop up talent from the likes of Tyrann Mathieu and Aaron Colvin; and to a lesser extent, Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete.  Although injury had some factor into Colvin’s availability, I feel that he can still provide a valuable contribution to the team.

It’s likely that the team will use the NFL Draft to repair the offensive line and the secondary, two of the weakest links on this team last season.  But with players suddenly becoming available because of salary cap constraints, there’s no doubt the Houston Texans will keep an eye on who is available to sign.

With Jacksonville Jaguars desperately trying to slash payroll, the team has parted ways with some healthy contributors and one of those guys is offensive tackle Jermey Parnell.

He was due a $6 million base salary for 2019 and it was near-certainty that the Jags weren’t going to pay that and my notion has actually come to fruition.  I doubt that Gaine would sign Parnell to such a large number but if it were half of that, I think that would be a prudent move to make.

Houston will have about $80 million to spend this off season so they’d be able to fit Parnell into some type of budget, depending on what he wants.

I’ve particularly been a fan of his for quite some time as he has been a offensive lineman I’d regularly keep my eye in within matchups against the Houston Texans.  Now that he’s available, I think he could provide a significant boost to the line.

An undrafted free agent from the 2009 NFL Draft, Parnell has starred on the Jags’ offensive line for the past four seasons.  The 32-year-old, 6-foot-6, 326-pound talent still has a notable amount left in the tank.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Parnell had 65.3 overall grade, 67.9 pass block and 62.3 run block grade through 868 snaps at right tackle last season.  He allowed 39

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pressures — marginally more than the past three seasons — giving up 32 quarterback hurries, five sacks and two QB hits.

The Houston Texans have re-signed Seantrel Henderson to be their right tackle but because of his past health issues, I’d bring in Parnell just to add to the depth of the roster.  It’s likely the Texans will draft a tackle that be able to play both left and right sides of the line but I think bringing in a saavy veteran like Parnell can help this unit soar as a whole.

And for that matter, Parnell hasn’t taken a snap at left tackle — where help is most needed — since 2012 where he took 152 snaps while he was in four-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys.

Parnell was still ranked in the Top 50 among tackles with at least 363 snaps in pass blocking efficiency in 2018, which is stat that PFF uses to measure the pressures allowed weighting toward the amount of sacks allowed on per-snap basis.  He had a 96.0 PBE last season.

But in contrast, Kendall Lamm had a 96.1 PBE, just one-tenth of percentage point higher than Parnell.  The team could just re-sign Lamm because of his familiarity with the system but I think a change should be instituted and I still think Parnell is that guy.

Lamm’s grade line for PFF was 64.7/75.9/49.7 for 2018 which indicates that he slightly pass-blocked better than Parnell last season but was not as good at stopping the run.

Next. Texans: Three free agent offensive tackles to target. dark

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see the direction that the Houston Texans go with how to improve the offensive line which I’m certain in a top priority this off season.

But with all things considered, Parnell should definitely be a somebody the team should kick the tires on.

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.