If there’s one thing we know about head coach Bill O’Brien, it’s that he’s more than willing to release veterans with too high of a price tag. This season, it was wide receiver Andre Johnson and center Chris Myers. Last year, that was tight end Owen Daniels and defensive lineman Antonio Smith.
Smith would go on to sign with the Oakland Raiders, and finished the year with 20 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Not the best year, for sure, and the Raiders wouldn’t fare much better, finishing the year 3-13.
This offseason, Oakland went on to sign defensive tackle Dan Williams from the Arizona Cardinals, and suddenly the 11-year veteran was without a starting role. He was then released by the team on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter.
Could this mean a return to Houston for the Ninja Assassin? NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport seems to think so:
The (assumed) starting defensive line for the Houston Texans consists of J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork, and Jared Crick. Antonio Smith would certainly add more depth to the line, and would serve as a veteran leader to some of the younger defensive players.
It also would be a great homecoming story for Smith, as he left Houston only a year ago, and was one of the more favored players on the Texans. The veteran also would bring a sense of versatility, as he can play any position on the line. All we heard from O’Brien last season was, “The more you can do…”, and Smith definitely brings this asset.
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But would signing him be worth the cost of bringing in a veteran player like Smith?
The Texans already spent a large amount of cap space on bringing in the veteran Wilfork, who is expected to bring first-year bust Louis Nix III under his wing. Jared Crick also had a decent season starting opposite of No. 99, and Smith wouldn’t necessarily be an upgrade.
It was also a poor year for Smith, who amassed his three total sacks in 2 of the 16 games he played. He’s also on the down slope of his career, as he turns 34 in October. In addition, Smith would be hard pressed to beat out Crick for the starting end job, as Crick is younger and has a year in the system.
In the end, though, Antonio Smith could prove to be a good addition to the line, at least for the right value. So should the Texans make a move for Smith? Vote in the poll below and tell us why in the comments!