Free agency is now only days away, rather than weeks. While the team that “wins” free agency usually doesn’t see this translate to actual wins (Broncos and Browns in 2014, the Eagles in 2011), there still are key players that a team can make a run at. The Texans have some holes to fill, and there are players out there who can help them immediately.
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After recording 91 receptions, 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, Green Pay Packers receiver Randall Cobb is about to hit the open market. To put this in perspective current Houston Texans receiver (for now) Andre Johnson has 12 touchdowns in the last three years combined. Four in 2012, five in 2013 and three in 2014.
Johnson was set to account for a huge chunk of the salary cap over the next two years, as he was still due around $23 million, before demanding a trade.
If a trade partner is found or if Johnson is in fact released, there will be more wiggle room for the Texans to make a move when free agency opens up on March 10th. Randall Cobb is the exact type of playmaker the team should make a serious push for.
The reason Cobb is possibly going to be available is the fact that Green Bay has already dished out a four year, $39 million deal to fellow starter Jordy Nelson. Already paying that much for one receiver would give Green Bay pause about paying the $9 million a year Cobb is seeking. Dedicating around $20 million to two wide receivers may not be in the cards for the Packers.
So if Cobb does hit the open market, a 24 year old receiver/return man who is very explosive becomes an intriguing possibility for a Texans offense that was rather stagnate.
Cobb has shown the ability to alter games on his unique skill set alone. In the Pack’s divisional round victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the team looked lost on offense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was hurting and his passes were off. Jordy Nelson was being covered by cornerback Brandon Carr, who surprisingly blanketed him all day.
Trailing 21-13 the Packers moved Cobb to the backfield and never looked back. He creates mismatches and single handedly opened the field up for his team mates. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel discussed in a January article how Cobb’ skill set is a threat. He also brought up some stats on how everyone around Randall gets better when he moves around and makes defenders worry about what he is going to do.
"“With Cobb in the backfield, Rodgers has completed 10 of 11 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown over the last two games and only three of those completions (for 53 yards) have gone to Cobb.” – Tom Silverstein"
Cobb has also shown an ability to be a stellar return man. He has recorded a 108 yard kick return for a touchdown, and also has two punts returned for scores. He most likely would have expanded on those numbers, except the fact that the team needed him more at receiver the past few seasons. Cobb saw only one kick return last year and 14 punt returns.
Nonetheless, the option to use such a solid return man would alway be there. Being a star receiver would not deter Cobb from being a special teamer either as he has always showed an amazing work ethic and willingness to do whatever is asked of him.
With Houston finishing the 2014 season at 24th in the league in passing with 209.5 yards per game, a versatile playmaker can bring them up much higher on the charts. Pairing a scary pass game with their fifth best 135.1 rush yards per game could be the move that gets them over the hump and into the playoffs.
Paying big money to a game changer who has no off-field concerns is a smart investment. What makes it even smarter is at 24 years of age, the young man has not really even hit the prime of his career yet.