Houston Texans: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

Arian Foster, Houston Texans. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Arian Foster, Houston Texans. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Antonio Smith, Houston Texans
Antonio Smith, Houston Texans. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

player. 10. . DE. (2009-13, 2016). Antonio Smith. 3

Back in 2009, the Texans were in need of a defensive end who could help the franchise shore up their defense. In free agency, they signed Antonio Smith away from the Arizona Cardinals. For five straight seasons (and again for the final year of his career), Smith ended up making 78 starts for the franchise (all from 2009-13). He played in a total of 92 games with the Texans.

For his career with Houston, Smith totaled 161 tackles (115 solo) with 38 tackles for loss, 98 quarterback hits, 27.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries. Also in his career with the Texans, Smith had eight passes defended and seven forced fumbles.

While with the Texans, Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2011, a season where he played and started in all 16 games, finishing that year with two passes defended, one forced fumble, 6.5 sacks, 25 tackles (19 solo), 10 tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hits.

Smith is one of the all-time best players to ever suit up for the franchise. He provided quality numbers and along the way played in six playoff games with the franchise, starting four of them in 2011 and 2012. His career playoff numbers with the Texans show Smith had one sack, 12 total tackles (11 solo), four tackles for a loss and four quarterback hits.

Fans look back at Smith’s time with Houston with great fondness. For his final season with the Texans, Smith was all but retired, but he came back to help the franchise when J.J. Watt was injured in 2016. The team needed to add depth, even if he was 34 years old at the time.

Smith always will be a favorite of Houston fans. When the Texans signed him as a free agent back in 2009, they gained a player who really embodied what the team represents.