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2024 NFL free agency: Texans get C+ for Day 1

NFL free agency kicked off Monday with the first day of legal tampering, a window in which the NFL allows for free agents to openly negotiate with teams and agree in principle to their respective new deals.

All eyes were on the Houston Texans with their cap space and reported interest in big-name players like defensive lineman Christian Wilkins and running back Saquon Barkley.

However, when the tampering window opened at noon ET, the Texans appeared to be running a tight ship on the contract values they were willing to hand out. High-profile players like Wilkins and Barkley signed elsewhere, whereas the Texans’ first move of the day was to bring back former second-round defensive back and special teamer Lonnie Johnson.

General manager Nick Caserio agreed to a deal with former first-round pick Jeff Okudah later in the afternoon before then agreeing to add former Tennessee Titans defensive end Denico Autry. Bargain shopping continued with a deal for defensive back/special teams player Mike Ford.

Other than Autry, the Texans’ first moves of the 2024 free agency period were all depth or special teams signings.

The Texans made their first semi-major signing in the evening, when they agreed to a deal with former Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair on a three-year, $34 deal deal to reunite with DeMeco Ryans – who were both in San Francisco earlier in Al-Shaair’s career. Al-Shaair is a solid addition to tandem up with Christian Harris, after the Texans lost Blake Cashman to the Minnesota Vikings.

Houston capped off the day with two other deals: former All-Pro Kansas City Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend and wide receiver Noah Brown, who was one of the most-targeted Texans wideouts in 2023. The Texans lost veteran punter Cam Johnston to the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier in the day.

This is business as usual for Caserio and staff: Signing a lot of bargain players at deals that are not over the top but can provide valuable play. All in all, the Texans get a C+ for Day 1. Losing guys like defensive end Jonathan Greenard, Cashman and running back Devin Singletary certainly hurts, as well as swinging big and missing on players like Barkley and Wilkins.

Day 2 will certainly be another worth watching, as there is still a plethora of talent left out there.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire