While the Texans have been there since January 9th, this week officially kicked off the NFL off-season. The next two big events in the calendar are the scouting combine at the end of February and the beginning of free agency, which kicks off on March 15th. In the meantime, the Texans continue to build their coaching staff and assess their current roster. With that in mind, we look at the impending Texans free agents and predict whether they should be re-signed or if Houston should let them walk come March 15th.
Jordan Akins, TE
Stats: 14 GP, 33 Rec, 425 Yds, 3 TDs, 1 Fumble
PFF Grade: 72.4
Akins has been a steady presence for the Houston Texans since 2018, playing in 72 games. The third leading receiver from this season, he should be re-signed and hold down the No. 2 Tight End role.
Kyle Allen, QB
Stats: 2 GP, 46/78 (59%), 416 Yds, 2 TDs, 4 Ints, 6 Att, 13 Yds, 4 Fumbles; QB Rating: 60.63
PFF Grade: 27.0
One year of Allen is enough. Driskel performed better and can provide competition to Davis Mills for the backup role.
Rex Burkhead, RB
Stats: 15 GP, 26 Atts, 80 Yds, 1 Rush TD, 36 Rec 203 Yds 1 TD
PFF Grade: 59.1
5th on the team in rushing and 5th on the team in receiving this season. A running back who is 32 years old going into next season, it's time to move on. Better production can be provided by a younger running back in free agency or the draft while complementing Pierce.
Blake Cashman, LB
Stats: 15 GP, 12 Tackles, 3 Sacks
PFF Grade: 54.0
Cashman provides decent depth at the linebacker position, producing three sacks this season over 15 games. However, his value is on special teams as he was a top 40 special teams player in the NFL this past season.
Phillip Dorsett, WR
Stats: 15 GP, 20 Rec, 257 Yds, 1 TD, 2 Drops
PFF Grade: 55.7
A 30-year-old former first-round pick, Dorsett ranked behind both Chris Moore and Nico Collins in yards and receptions.
Jeff Driskel, QB
Stats: 12/18 (66.7%), 95 Yds 1 TD, 17 Atts 68 Yds, QB Rating: 98.15
PFF Grade: 68.0
The Texans are rumored to have told coaching candidates that the 2nd pick will be used on a quarterback. That makes it clear that if Davis Mills remains on the roster he'll "compete" (the pretend training camp battle that happens every year across the league) or be the backup. Driskel has enough athleticism to keep around for camp or as a 3rd quarterback, maybe even fill a Taysom Hill-type role.
Royce Freeman, RB
Stats: 3 GP, 34 Atts, 102 Yds, 5 Rec 31 Yds
PFF Grade: 59.2
Freeman would be at best a camp body. The Texans should bring in new talent to the position instead.
Rasheem Green, DE
Stats: 15 GP, 41 Tackles, 3.5 Sacks
PFF Grade: 62.4
The Texans need help on the defensive line both through the draft and free agency. Green did not produce as hoped on a one-year $3.25 million deal, but the Texans could consider bringing him back for another go at the right price.
Neville Hewitt, ILB
Stats: 13 GP, 4 Tackles
PFF Grade: 67.3
Another special teams standout, ranking in the top 50 of special teams players in the NFL. Bring him back and keep continuity within the unit.
O.J. Howard, TE
Stats: 16 GP, 10 Rec 145 Yds, 2 TDs
PFF Grade: 56.2
Tampa's former first-round pick is a bust. Let him go and bring in others to compete for the starting role.
Justin McCray, G
Stats: 12 GP, 151 Snaps, 3 Penalties
PFF Grade: 41.4
The Texans need serious help along the interior of the offensive line. McCray graded out as one of the worst guards in football when he played. Time to move on.
Chris Moore, WR
Stats: 15 GP, 46 Rec, 526 Yds, 2 TDs, 3 Drops
PFF Grade: 63.2
The second leading receiver on the team, he played well enough that he should earn another contract.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, OLB
Stats: 16 GP, 43 Tackles, 5 Sacks, 1 FF
PFF Grade: 75.1
One of the defensive standouts from this season, this is a no-brainer.
Jonathan Owens, S
Stats: 16 GP, 117 Tackles, 1 Sack
PFF Grade: 48.3
A tackling machine at the Safety position, but a bit suspect in coverage as he allowed 23 receptions on 36 targets. I think he warrants bringing back on a one or two-year team-friendly deal. Bring in others to compete for the starting role via the draft or free agency and see who wins out.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB
Stats: 2 GP, 3 Tackles
PFF Grade: 45.8
Pierre-Louis hardly played this season, as he went on IR in September. His role was minimal, and at age 31 coming off an injury, it's best to move on for Houston.
Scott Quessenberry, C
Stats: 15 GP, 990 Snaps, 2 Penalties, 7 Sacks
PFF Grade: 36.6
No question to let Quessenberry walk as he graded out to be one of the worst centers in the league.
Derek Rivers OLB
Stats: 5 GP, 9 Tackles, 1 Sack
PFF Grade: No Grade
A minimal role player on the defensive line, he would be at best a camp body signing. Move on and bring in fresh faces.
Tremon Smith, CB
Stats: 16 GP, 13 Tackles, 3 FF, 2 INT
PFF Grade: 65.5
Depth, versatility, and playmaking ability are always in demand. Tremon Smith showed that this season on both defense and special teams.
Taylor Stallworth, DT
Stats: 7 GP, 8 Tackles
See Derek Rivers above.
M.J. Stewart, SS
Stats: 16 GP, 24 tackles, 1 FF
PFF Grade: 70.1
Another special teams standout, ranking in the top 10. Let him keep contributing there and see if he can push Owens and others in camp at Safety.
Tavierre Thomas, CB
Stats: 9 GP, 30 Tackles, 2 FF
Another corner that showed some playmaking ability in limited time on the field. Cornerback depth is a great thing to have, especially come training camp.
Jon Weeks, LS
Re-sign the long snapper, no question about this one.