The Houston Texans’ rebuild continues. The 2o22 NFL Draft is over, and it was a very successful one for Lovie Smith’s squad. Now they look to the remaining free agents and to cut lists as we push forward.
The Texans still have needs just about everywhere, though a number of positions look a good deal better now than they did before the draft. But the draft is history, so let’s look at the present. Before we begin, let me say that there’s nothing the Texans can do this year to complete their roster. Normally in this series we try to create a path to contention for Super Bowls, but that’s just not possible with the Texans this year.
Instead, we’re going to be using this thought experiment to see two moves the Texans must make to keep their rebuild on track.
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Texans Moves After 2022 NFL Draft
1. Sign Free Agent C JC Tretter
The Texans used their second first-round pick on a guard in Kenyon Green, but the biggest weakness on the offense still lies in the interior. Here, they grab one of the most dependable centers in the league over the past five or so seasons, and likely at comparatively little cost.
Over the life of his last extension in Cleveland, Tretter earned an average of $10.5 million per year, which is nothing compared to the Mount Everest-sized pile of cap space the Texans are sitting on over not just this season (where they have $20 million free) but also the next two. As things stand right now, the Texans will have a cool $64 million in space next year and an absolutely gargantuan $252 million to play with in 2024.
Tretter also missed a whole lot of practice last season due to injury, sure, but he still managed to log well over a thousand snaps, so it’s not as if he was totally useless during that time frame. Even at 31, Tretter still can undoubtedly be considered a good starting center in this league, and he would start from Day 1 in Houston. Center is often one of the more undervalued positions on the roster, but boy do you sure notice it when you don’t have a surefire good one.
2. Sign Free Agent EDGE Melvin Ingram
Before you balk at the idea of the Texans signing a 33-year-old Ingram, please remember that this is a rebuild, not a reload. Right now the Texans need veteran players to fill the gaps on short-term deals to get them to where they need to be to keep building. Ingram fits that mold perfectly. His short time in Kansas City this past season saw what seemed like a return to form for Ingram, and the Texans would surely be hoping that form holds up.
He’d come cheap too, as he wasn’t really earning much from Pittsburgh before he left there, only just shy of $2 million per season, and even less in Kansas City. If the Texans can get him in on a two-year deal for cheap, it’s a no-brainer. He still offers enough on the field to justify his signing, and he can offer the likes of, say, Jonathan Greenard enough off the field that there’s no question.
Of course other options such as Jerry Hughes, an extremely unlikely reunion with Jadeveon Clowney, Trey Flowers or Justin Houston could do much the same, but Ingram is the pick of the litter by far in terms of veteran edge rushers still out there waiting for their phone to ring.