After a disappointing end to their season, the Houston Texans have a lot of offseason decisions ahead of them. What moves should they make? Find out below.
Up 24-0 with 10:54 remaining in the second quarter it appeared that the Houston Texans were finally going to advance past the Divisional Round of the playoffs and would not only make it to their first AFC Championship game in franchise history but get to host the AFC Championship. But everything changed in the blink of an eye.
This offseason will be critical to how successful the Houston Texans will be in the future because Baltimore, Kansas City, and Tennessee are not going away next year. Before I address what Houston needs to do this offseason I must first clear up one topic: Bill O’Brien’s future.
I’ll be the first to admit that I believe Bill O’Brien needs to be let go, but the fact is he will not be fired. O’Brien has three years left on his salary and the Houston Texans are not willing to eat up his salary so that they can hire a new coach. Not only that but after the playoff loss, Deshaun Watson backed O’Brien saying that O’Brien has his support. As hard as it is for most Texans fans to swallow, Bill O’Brien will be the head coach of the Houston Texans for the 2020 season.
Now that O’Brien’s future has been made clear let’s take a look at how the Houston Texans should address the offseason.
1. Get Secondary Help
The Texans secondary was a major issue during the 2019 season. Houston’s defense gave up 4,276 passing yards, which is the fourth most in the NFL, and 33 passing touchdowns in the regular season. Changes must be made.
Bradley Roby, who was Houston’s best cornerback all season, is a free agent. I think the Houston Texans should and will try to bring Roby back but there is no guarantee he will return to Houston for the 2020 season.
The Texans have about $60 million in cap space right now, although a large chunk will likely be used to extend Deshaun Watson, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones is the top free agent on the market for teams who need secondary help. In all likelihood, the Cowboys are not going to be able to resign Jones especially if they plan to open their checkbook to resign quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. If Jones is going to have to find a new home then the Texans should definitely pursue him, as he would provide a huge boost to their secondary.
Safety Justin Simmons is another top-notch free agent. Simmons has expressed his desire to stay in Denver but if Simmons and the Broncos are unable to reach a deal then Houston should definitely give him a look.
The bottom line is the Texans have to be willing to spend the money to bring in help to bolster their secondary.
2. Draft pass rushers
The Texans ranked 26th in the league in sacks this season. The failure of Houston’s defense to consistently get pressure on the quarterback played a major role in why teams were able to pass the ball so well against the Texans.
Whitney Merciulus and Jacob Martin have proven their ability to pressure the quarterback from the outside linebacker position, but the Texans really did not have a defensive lineman who can consistently get to the quarterback. Defensive end J.J. Watt is an elite pass rusher but has struggled to stay healthy and is only getting older.
The Texans, who do not have a first-round pick, need to focus their draft on pass rushers. Drafting pass rushers will not only increase the number of times the defense gets to the quarterback but will also decrease the time the opposing quarterback has to throw which puts less pressure on the secondary.
3. The Houston Texans should extend Deshaun Watson
This is the most obvious offseason move for Houston and definitely something that should be at the top of the Texans offseason agenda. Watson’s ability to use his athleticism to extend plays and turn blown up plays into SportsCenter Top 10 highlights makes him an elite NFL quarterback and someone the Texans need to keep around for as long as possible.
Watson is approaching a big payday as he enters the final season of his rookie contract so it is very important that the Texans work out a deal and give Watson a new contract so that he remains in Houston for the long run.
4. Decide on right guard Zach Fulton’s future
The Texans offensive line, who allowed the most sacks in 2018, certainly showed signs of improvement this season but there is still work that needs to be done.
More from House of Houston
- Are you the 2021 FanSided Sports Fan of the Year?
- Houston Texans: 4 reasons Romeo Crennel is right coach right now
- Astros-Twins Wild Card Series: 5 things to know as MLB postseason begins
- Houston Texans: The Most Underrated Sports Drought Ever
- Houston Texans: J.J. Watt’s early case for NFL Hall of Fame
Tytus Howard were a boost to the offensive line this season and displayed signs of a promising future.
But the big question is the future of right guard Zach Fulton. Fulton, who only allowed one sack all season and rarely misses a game, has two years remaining on his contract and will make $7 million each season. But the Texans have the option of cutting Fulton from the roster without having to carry any dead money.
So this decision really boils down to if cutting Fulton is worth freeing up an extra $7 million in cap space each of the next two seasons.
5. Bring back Carlos Hyde
return to Houston for the 2020 season, Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller are free agents. Houston is faced with a tough decision on whether to bring back both Hyde and Miller, bring back only one of these two, or bring back neither of them.
In my opinion, Hyde should be the back that the Texans focus on bringing back.
Hyde had the best season of his career in 2019 as he rushed for his first career 1,000-yard season. Along with Hyde’s phenomenal season on the ground, he and Johnson paired really well together and provide the Texans offense with a nice one-two punch at the running back position.
Overall, doing these things this offseason will not immediately solve all the Texans issues, but it will certainly be a step in the right direction and give Houston the best chance to make a deep playoff run in 2020.