Top free agent defensive tackles the Texans need to consider

The Houston Texans may want to keep an eye on these defensive tackles.

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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Sheldon Rankins

Rankins spent last season with the Texans, where he signed a one-year/$10M deal. Rankins lived up to his contract, totaling 37 tackles, six sacks, one forced fumble, and one TD, along with 10 QB hits. The former first-round pick received a 64.2 grade from PFF last year, proving to be a very capable starter on this defense.

The Texans could very well have the continuity on the DL and have to handle one less hole on the defense next week. If so, Spotrac projects him to sign a three-year/$29.9M deal or $9.9M per year. Houston would retain its starting tackle at relatively the same salary as last year, and keep him until he turns 32 years old, likely finishing his career in Houston.

Rankins has been a consistently productive player throughout his career, despite many stops along the way. He has totaled 228 tackles, 29.5 sacks, and five forced fumbles while playing for the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and Houston Texans.

According to Sports Illustrated, there's mutual interest in a return to Houston, though nothing is imminent, they said. If Spotrac's contract projection holds, Rankins could be the most valuable option on the market this year.