The Houston Texans could be aggressive in the trade market with three 2019 draft picks in the first two rounds.
Since A.J. Bouye solid season in the secondary all the way back in 2016, the Houston Texans have struggled to find a cornerback that can do the same. Although the Texans could potentially add a cornerback in free agency such as Ronald Darby, there could be another likely route to bolster the position group — bringing Xavier Rhodes to Houston.
Recently, Vikings play-by-play radio voice Paul Allen suggested on Pro Football Talk Live that the Minnesota Vikings could look to move on from the star cornerback known as Rhodes Closed. In turn, Rhodes responded on Twitter, which is the obvious response in 2019.
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Of course, Paul Allen is just one source, but the likelihood that the Vikings trade their star cornerback becomes more real when you consider the situation the Vikings are in terms of their cap space and roster outlook.
Not only will the Vikings owe quarterback Kirk Cousins $60 million guaranteed over the next two years, they will also likely try to keep their core of receivers, mainly Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who is owed a hair over $41.5 million over the next two years combined, $24 million of that guaranteed, per Over The Cap. Meaning, they will need to make cuts to keep such an expensive offensive core.
The team also desperately needs talent around their offensive line, which won’t come cheap considering their draft status (18th pick in 2019), and want to win immediately under Cousins. However, they only have $7.25 million to work for 2019, making it difficult to address their needs.
In terms of talent, the Vikings have one of the best cornerback depth charts outside of Xavier Rhodes. Trae Waynes, a 2015 first rounder pick, has continued to develop into a solid boundary cornerback. Meanwhile, 2018 first round pick Mike Hughes has flashed the potential similar to Rhodes, to be an every-down cornerback capable of shadowing the opposing team’s top receiver. Backups Holton Hill, and MacKensie Alexander also shown enough promise to earn more playing time in the NFL.
If the Vikings do intend to trade Rhodes, not only will they be able to replace him, they will also free up a significant amount of cap space, as they owe Rhodes $13.3 million in 2019, $12.9 million in 2020, $14.15 in 2021, and $13.85 in 2022, per Over The Cap. Numbers the Texans can currently afford, but as mentioned before, numbers that the Vikings can’t, considering their salary cap space, and other team needs.
Acknowledging that Rhodes will not only be 29 by the start of the 2019 season, has not been an All-Pro since 2017, and has had recent injury troubles. However, for the Texans, Rhodes would project as an upgrade over nearly any cornerback in the history of their franchise.
Rhodes is an accomplished player that has seen his fair share of accolades (2-time Pro-Bowler, 2017 first-team All-Pro). He has a 6-1, 220 lb frame and the ability to shadow nearly any wide receiver in the game for an extended period of time, but he can also drop into zone coverage if need be. Versatility the Texans under Bill O’Brien and Brian Gaine covet.
Because of Rhodes cap hit, age, and marginal regression, the cost to acquire him could potentially be similar to a Marcus Peters trade the Rams and Chiefs executed last year, where the Chiefs acquired a 2018 fourth-round pick, and a 2019 second-round pick.
For the Texans, that’s a value that they can’t ignore for a player that could help their already outstanding defense reach the next level.