Do the Houston Texans need to be interested in free agent outside linebacker Vic Beasley?
There was a time when Vic Beasley was a high priority when it came to NFL circles during the 2015 NFL Draft. Now a pending free agent, the Houston Texans need to do their homework on the pass rusher because they need to make improvements in that area of the defense this offseason.
Beasley has played the past four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons — the team that drafted him eighth overall — but they announced on Twitter this week that they won’t be picking up his fifth-year option, and he’ll be free to be signed by another team when he officially becomes a free agent.
According to Pro Football Focus, Beasley is coming off a season where he totaled 27 solo tackles, two forced fumbles and nine sacks in 16 games, plus he had an overall season grade of 58.9. According to Pro Football Reference, Beasley also had 12 QB hits, plus eight tackles for loss, with four TFL in the final four games of the 2019 regular season.
According to Pro Football Reference, Beasley also had 12 QB hits, plus eight tackles for loss, with four TFL in the final four games of the 2019 regular season. Of Beasley’s overall sack total in ’19, four of the sacks came in the final five games, including two against the Carolina Panthers and one each against the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Now how do those numbers affect the Texans and a possible interest in Beasley? Would Beasley even improve the defense of the Texans in 2020?
When the Texans’ season came to a close after the Divisional Playoff loss, the outside linebackers on the roster were Whitney Mercilus, Barkevious Mingo, Brennan Scarlett and Jacob Martin. Of course Mercilus is the top OLB on the roster who finished with 26 solo tackles, eight sacks and four forced fumbles and two interceptions. PFF even graded Mercilus with a grade of 65.1.
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Scarlett had a PFF grade of 55.4 for the ’19 season with 30 solo tackles, four sacksmand two forced fumbles.
There is still a spot on the roster for Martin because he’s only been in the league since 2018 as a sixth-round pick, but he’s coming off a season where had just 11 tackles (six solo) with 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. In two playoff games against the Buffalo Bills and Chiefs, Martin had two tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.
Martin this past season had a PFF grade of 56.6, so there is room for improvement. Having Martin on the roster would be a good thing for the ’20 season, to see how much he can improve on his overall game and see how he produces in a second season with the Texans.
All of this comes back to Beasley. Beasley hasn’t reached his full potential, and he has to still have the ability to be the player he was early in the first couple seasons of his career.
Beasley’s rookie season of 2015 had a PFF grade of 70.5, a season where he had 15 solo tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. Then the second season of ’16 is where Beasley really broke out with 18 solo tackles, 16 sacks (he led the NFL) and six forced fumbles, plus had a PFF grade of 76.8.
In ’17, Beasley totaled seven sacks and one forced fumble (plus 21 solo tackles), then a season later in ’18 he had 11 solo tackles, six sacks and zero forced fumbles. In those two seasons, Beasley’s PFF grades were 42.2 (’18) and 57.8 (’17).
Beasley might not be the same player he was, but don’t you believe he’s still talented ,and the ability to have a double-digit sack season is still there? If he were to have a short-term contract with the Texans to revive his career — it worked for Tyrann Mathieu — why not try to add Beasley to the roster for 2020?
The Texans need a better pass rush, and having Beasley on the roster would improve the defensive unit, which is an offseason need that has to be fixed as much as possible.