Houston Texans: 3 Priority Players to Sign in 2017 Free Agency

Dec 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Houston Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) reacts to breaking up a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans are on the cusp of making a deep run in the playoffs, but need to be judicious in the 2017 free agency period and sign key players.

The most successful and stable franchises in the NFL are built in the draft and supplemented by free agency. Teams like the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Baltimore Ravens spring to mind when thinking of stable franchises that do just that.

The Houston Texans are in the midst of supplementing a team that is seemingly built. The window for success is open and the Texans need to get the right players in place through free agency to capitalize on the overall, successful building of a roster through the draft over the last few years.

Free agency often only looks at players that are outside a Texans uniform already, but a lot of the players on the team set to his 2017 free agency are also worth considering. Hitting the market is no guarantee that those players will leave the team, especially if they are on the priority list for the Texans.

It may all start at quarterback, which grabs the headlines, but there are a number of positions that the Texans need to address. With $26.7 million in cap space (per Spotrac), the Texans will need to be judicious in selecting where to spend the money. We dive into the best way to do that with three free agents they should prioritize.

Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tony Romo, QB – Dallas Cowboys

The big question for the Dallas Cowboys and the quarterback hungry teams, especially the Houston Texans, is whether or not Tony Romo will be released or if he will be traded. The Cowboys have little need for the aging, injured stud after the emergence of rookie sensation Dak Prescott, making it likely he will end up in another jersey in 2017.

At this time, Romo appears willing to “massage his contract” (per CBS Sports) to facilitate a trade. If the Cowboys don’t want to simply release him, that could pose a problem for a team like the Texans who need to hold onto all forms of talent to stay competitive.

Assuming the Cowboys do not find a suitor (even if the Texans balk) and are forced to release Romo, he quickly becomes the top priority to sign. No team does well in the modern NFL without a top-flight quarterback and Romo is simply one of the best in the business. He instantly turns the Texans into Super Bowl contenders.

The MMQB’s Albert Breer expects the Cowboys to do right by Romo and either hook him up with a team that wants him via trade or release him. Romo has reportedly expressed an interest in joining the Texans making this a logical matchup either in free agency or via trade. When priority meets opportunity and opportunity is actively knocking, it’s a no brainer.

Dec 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Houston Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) reacts to breaking up a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Houston Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) reacts to breaking up a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

2. A.J. Bouye, CB – Texans

Not all free agency moves have to be in the market. Some of the best moves in free agency are done when negotiating with players on one’s own team. For the Houston Texans, that includes cornerback A.J. Bouye.

Bouye has become a stud over the last couple of seasons. The Texans rely on him to be both a reliable player against any matchup and also to be a playmaker. With six interceptions, 32 passes defensed, and a fumble forced and recovered in the last three seasons, Bouye’s value is clear.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is the lack of value at the position elsewhere. FanSided’s Toro Times tackled this issue by highlighting three possible free agent replacements for Bouye. Dre Kirkpatrick, Morris Claiborne, and Prince Amukamara are simply not on the same level of reliability as Bouye (especially Claiborne). If they truly are the cream of the crop in terms of afforable value, then getting a deal done with Bouye quickly becomes a higher priority.

If Spotrac’s estimated market value of five years for $57 million is in the ballpark, the Texans need to find a way to make this a team-friendly deal in terms of cap hit. $11 million a year would be a significant hit on a team that still needs to sign other players, including, possibly, a quarterback.

Fortunately, that is why teams work with players already on the roster to get good deals done. It’s far more likely that Bouye will work together with the Texans for a team-friendly deal than another player who has no loyalty to the organization.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Oakland Raiders

3. Mike Remmers, RT – Carolina Panthers

Mike Remmers is a divisive player. A guy who has been tasked with anything under the sun at the tackle position, Remmers undoubtedly struggled in 2016. That is going to cause the 27-year old’s market to crumble in free agency.

This is good for the Houston Texans. Coming off a season with Derek Newton tearing both Patella tendons, it’s important to get a quality starter to come to the Texans who can step in and play immediately. A young player at the low point in his value but from a winning franchise and a key contributor in their 2015 Super Bowl run is a perfect fit.

Remmers has struggled with a 2016 shift over to the left tackle position but would be a valuable addition in returning to his more natural right tackle role. The Texans offer him the ability to move into that role and prove he is better than his 2016 performance at left tackle makes teams think. He got a bad rap in 2016 and that should only make him a further bargain.

While the draft can yield plenty of offensive line talent for the Texans, getting a starting-caliber tackle for (relatively) cheap is always a good move. Whoever ends up playing quarterback for the Texans needs to stay upright and whoever is running the ball needs holes opened up front. Remmers can help provide that.

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