Houston Texans free agency: Is Malcolm Butler an improvement from last season?

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It was reported Friday the Houston Texans were working out Malcolm Butler.

Familiarity with former players of the New England Patriots seems to excite Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio, as the Texans were reported to have worked out cornerback Malcolm Butler on Friday.

Butler is most famous for his interception on the final play of a Super Bowl against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, Butler is not on the Patriots, and Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos.

Welcome to the 2022 offseason, as the Texans could be adding a veteran cornerback that didn’t play last season, and even though he has big game experience, how much help would he bring to the secondary of the Texans?

In his most recent season of 2020, Butler played for the Tennessee Titans, and he was targeted 116 times, allowing 73 receptions. His Pro Football Focus grade that year was 71.6, though he did have three interceptions.

In ’19, Butler’s PFF grade was 65.5, as he was targeted 51 times, allowing 32 receptions. Butler played 2014-17 with New England and 2018-20 with the Titans, gaining 17 career interceptions, and from ’15-20 had no less than two interceptions per season, with his career-high being four interceptions in ’16 with the Patriots and four with the Titans in ’20.

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Butler is a respectable player in his own right, but if the Texans are serious about taking steps forward for long-term success, they need to start building their secondary with younger players through the draft.

It wouldn’t hurt the Texans to sign Butler to a one-year deal for the ’22 season for his veteran presence, but again, the Texans need some long-term solutions for their secondary and elsewhere on the roster.

Houston Texans free agency: Isaac Yiadom also visits for a work out

The Texans also brought in four-year NFL veteran cornerback Isaac Yiadom for a workout Friday.

Yiadom played for the Green Bay Packers last season, where he finished with nine solo tackles. In 2018-19 he was a member of the Denver Broncos, and in ’20 he played for the New York Giants.

Yiadom has one career interception (in ’18 with the Broncos), and it could be tough for him to earn a roster spot. Like with Butler, the Texans need to have depth at cornerback, and if they bring in Yiadom he’ll be entering his fifth season, and this too wouldn’t be a long-term relationship with the defense of the Texans.

Last season Yiadom was targeted six times, allowing five receptions with the Packers.

Neither one of these potential signings are going to change the overall direction of the Texans’ defense, but for depth purposes they’ll eventually have to sign players. Both Butler and Yiadom allow their opponents to gain many receptions, which is something Houston needs to cut down on in ’22.

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It will be worth waiting and seeing if either one of these cornerbacks will be signed by the Texans, but expect many more moves to be made by this franchise during free agency.