Key decisions to make for Houston Texans free agents
Carlos Hyde, RB
28 years old, $2.8 million: 16 starts, 1070 rush yards, 6 TDs, 4.4 YPC, 10 rec/42 yards, 4 fumbles
Despite a plethora of mock drafts predicting the Texans will select a replacement running back early, I have faith that the team will keep their current backfield intact. Hyde’s thunder and lightning style with Duke Johnson gave defenses all year, and Spotrac predicts he will only cost $3 million to bring back. Keep Hyde on the roster, possibly split more carries with Johnson and reap the benefits. Decision: Re-sign
Jonathan Joseph, CB
36 years old, $5 million: 14 starts, 51 tackles, 1 INT
Since coming to the team in 2011, Joseph has been everything you could’ve asked for as a starting cornerback. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in passes defended and could probably keep playing if he wanted to continue. However, I believe the team is ready to move on at the position and will look to either land a splashy cornerback signing in free agency or draft on in the second round. Decision: Let Go
Bradley Roby, CB
28 years old, $10 million: 10 starts, 1 sack, 38 tackles, 1 FF, 2 INTs, 1 TD
The most expensive free agent on the roster, Roby signed a one-year prove-it deal last year, and wowing the team with his big-play potential. As the No. 31 overall pick in 2014, Roby has never needed to be a top guy, but played like one this year.
Roby is likely to get paid more than $10 million on a two-to-three year deal, the only question is whether or not the Texans are willing to foot the bill. Roby can lock down one side of the field and play aggressive enough to scare away quarterbacks and is an invaluable part of a pass defense that can’t afford to lose players. Decision: Re-Sign
D.J. Reader, DT
26 years old, $638k: 15 starts, 2.5 sacks, 52 tackles
This is the closest thing to a no-brainer. Reader was recognized by Pro Football Focus as the No. 52 player in the entire league, and needs to be paid like one. J.J. Watt publicly advocated for the team to bring him back after Brandon Dunn was re-signed, though he would cost around $11.9 million per year (Spotrac estimated value).
Reader was a fifth round pick that exploded onto the scene in the last couple of seasons, and his presence on the defensive line cannot be understated. If improving the defense is one way to push the Texans over the top, this, along with re-signing Roby, is the top move the Texans can make this offseason.
This is what I believe the Houston Texans should do with their $60 million-plus in cap space, but of course not every player can come back on a team-friendly deal. Hopefully, the Texans can re-sign their key contributors, plus continue developing the younger players as the team looks to finally move into elite status in the NFL.