Should the Houston Texans try harder to keep Jacob Martin in 2022?
When the Houston Texans gained Jacob Martin in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks a few seasons ago the expectations were on the more exciting side when it came to the pass rusher. With Martin being a free agent this offseason the feel is he won’t be returning to the team in ’22, but is that the best decision for the Texans?
This past season Martin played in all 17 games with the Texans, finishing with four sacks, 11 solo tackles and he had two forced fumbles. In three seasons with the Texans, Martin played in 45 games, making 15 starts with 14 of those starts in ’21. In that time the defensive end has collected 30 solo tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 16 QB hits, one safety and 10.5 sacks.
Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network wrote this about Martin and the Texans with their contract talks so far this offseason:
"“Jacob Martin is a pending free agent who is not expected to return after some initial contract discussions during the season.”"
It is no secret the Texans need to revamp their pass rush, and with four sacks this past season Martin contributed to what little pass rush the Texans did have in ’21. Maybe the Texans are right in deciding to move forward from Martin after their reported contract discussions, as he was a player brought in by for general manager Bill O’Brien, and not current GM Nick Caserio.
Can the Texans do better than Martin? Maybe so, but he is a good player to have on the roster for depth purposes. That said, if he wants to go test free agency and feels that’s best for his career, then the Texans do need to move on as he won’t get the “big” contract with this franchise as they are rebuilding their roster.
Houston should have a solid backup plan and that’s improving the pass rush through the 2022 NFL Draft, and that should be the main goal of this franchise moving forward. Picking third in the draft there is a great chance the Texans will draft either Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon), Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) or George Karlaftis (Purdue) as those are three of the top edge rushers in this draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Detroit Lions are scheduled to draft ahead of the Houston Texans in this draft with the first two picks, and one of them could select Evan Neal of Alabama, especially Jacksonville as they really need a left tackle to protect their franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
That leaves the possibility for the Texans to add to their pass rush in a big way, which does leave room for Martin to test free agency and the Texans to do the same. This could be a win-win for both parties because maybe both need a fresh start away from each other, as Martin has shown splashes of being a quality player with good potential still available to hit another level.
Since joining the Texans as the general manager Caserio has been adding his own players and gradually been adding the players he wants to have on the roster.
It isn’t surprising Martin is probably not returning to the Texans in ’22 so they most likely won’t be more aggressive in keeping Martin. For both parties this seems like a decision they both can live with for the foreseeable future, and things will be different for both Martin and the Texans in ’22.