Retaining Jonathan Greenard should be a top priority for the Texans this offseason

Letting the talented edge-rusher sign elsewhere in free agency would be a mistake.
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Many Texans fans have probably chosen to disregard the Bill O’Brien era completely, especially with how bright the future looks in Houston. That being said, the current Texans have reaped the benefits from one of O’Brien’s decisions from his tenure, the selection of Jonathan Greenard in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Jonathan Greenard exploded this past season after an injury-ridden 2022. Greenard only played 62% of the time for Houston this past season and still increased his value exponentially. In 15 games this past season, Greenard amassed a career-high 12.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. Greenard will be highly coveted once free agency hits which begs the question of whether or not the Texans will sign him to an extension, or even franchise tag him. 

Keeping Greenard will be a hefty price either way given how valuable rushers that can get double-digit sacks are. Franchise tagging him would cost approximately $20 million, while an extension would probably fall in the range of $20-25 million per year unless Greenard decides to take a team-friendly deal. I highly doubt that will be the case despite his outspokenness about wanting to stay in Houston long-term

DeMeco Ryans's defensive units have historically been dependent on the front four. For instance, the Texans’ defense only blitzed 21% of the time in 2023. Despite having the 5th-lowest blitz percentage in the NFL this past season, Ryans’s unit had the 5th-highest pressure percentage at 25.7%. To keep this trend up, Houston needs to allocate the proper assets toward the defensive line this offseason. 

I bet that Ryans will be advocating for Nick Caserio to work out a deal with Greenard so that he can continue to rely on him and Anderson to continue wreaking havoc upfront. Houston could let Greenard walk and choose to spend the money on other positions like cornerback or receiver while using their first-rounder on an edge defender. I think it would make more sense to resign Greenard and draft a corner instead as the 2024 draft class has more depth at corner than arguably any other position. 

Anything can happen on draft night, but it would be surprising to see one of the top edge rushers like Laiatu Latu, Dallas Turner, or Jared Verse fall to Houston at pick 23. On the other hand, there is a strong possibility that the Texans will have their choice between cornerbacks such as Quinyon Mitchell, Nate Wiggins, Cooper DeJean, or Kool-Aid McKinstry just to name a few. 

No one outside of the Texans’ organization knows how Nick Caserio is going to approach this offseason. With 36 impending free agents set to hit the open market in March, Caserio will have his work cut out for him. One way or another, this fan is hoping that we will see Jonathan Greenard in a Texans uniform during the 2024 season.

Next. In a surprise to no one, the Houston Texans 2023 draft class takes home the top spot. In a surprise to no one, the Houston Texans 2023 draft class takes home the top spot. dark