Secondary options in free agency for the Houston Texans
Simply put the Houston Texans need to improve their pass defense. While some of the blame falls on the sub-par pass rush, the secondary is truly at fault. There is the chance this off-season to improve this unit through free agency. Here are some potential targets for the Texans.
The Patriots cornerback was the center of trade rumors earlier this season. Malcolm Butler is due to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Butler graded out as above average and the 45th overall cornerback according to Pro Football Focus.
There is no doubt that the Patriots will attempt to keep Butler in New England. With how much his contract is expected to be he could prove too costly and could move on. Butler will cost a lot for Houston but it is not necessarily out of the question.
Davon House did not have a great 2017 season by any means. That being said his ability is better than his performance by far. House is a much more affordable option than Butler but not nearly at the same level of player as Butler. If the Packers are not able to re-sign House the Texans should be there to sign him before anyone else can.
Tyvon Branch will not be cheap. However it seems that he will be more available than before as a result of the retirements of Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians. If the Cardinals find suitable replacements for Palmer and Arians it could entire Branch to stay. If not the Texans can step in and acquire a playmaking safety for their defense.
Branch graded out as high quality and ranks as the sixth-best safety according to Pro Football Focus. The soon to be 32 year old safety will have plenty of suitors. His age could prevent some teams from signing Branch. A team like the Texans with playoff aspirations could make a huge splash in acquiring Branch.
One final cornerback for the Texans to consider. Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson. Robinson will be expensive even with his age (30). Robinson has been outstanding so far this season for Philadelphia. With that being said it may be possible that a youth movement in the secondary in Philadelphia could push Robinson out. That in addition to his age could make him available for Houston.
Robinson graded out as elite and ranks as the fourth-best cornerback according to Pro Football Focus. What must be considered is that Robinson mostly plays in the slot and is best suited for that position. If the Texans were to sign Robinson they would also need to acquire other cornerbacks to play on outside. That being said a team can never have too many quality cornerbacks on their roster. Especially in today’s NFL.
Texans own free agents
The Texans have their own free agents to handle. Johnathan Joseph, Marcus Gilchrist, Marcus Williams and Eddie Pleasant. Retaining all four of these players is rather unlikely. This is not necessarily from the poor pass defense in Houston this season. Which is not entirely the secondary’s fault. It is just due to the fact that keeping an entire group of free agent secondary players is not all that common. Not impossible, just not likely.
The Texans might want to go into a different direction with their secondary after this past season. Houston has cap room to spend and may want to address their secondary which became partially exposed after injuries to the Texans pass rushers. Excellent secondary play is at a premium in the modern NFL and Houston needs to address that as soon as possible.