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Arik Armstead claims Texans had trade in place

Before Arik Armstead signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he thought he’d be headed to the Houston Texans.

According to the longtime San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman, that thought was nearly a reality before a deal headed south at the final hour.

In a recent interview on the ‘Third and Long” podcast, Armstead said the Texans were “in talks” of acquiring him before his release early last month. Houston already had a deal in place to trade starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins and Armstead was supposed to be a part of the compensation. 

The trade fell through after deliberation between general manager Nick Caserio and John Lynch, ultimetly leading to Armstead’s release. After that, the 30-year-old turned his sights to Buffalo, Jacksonville and a few others. 

“I consider myself a big-game player, a big time player in big games,” said Armstead. “I have track record of that. The Jags have had a lot of good teams these past few years. They’ve gone to the playoffs.”

Signed to a three-year, $51 million deal, Armstead reunites with former 49ers GM Trent Baalke over former defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. He plans on being the reckongning up the middle that gives Jacksonville the edge in the race for first place against C.J. Stroud and an improving offense. 

On paper, Armstead’s familiarity with Ryans’ defense made him an ideal replacement for Sheldon Rankins, who signed a two-year deal with Cincinnati after negotations fell through.

Even after the trade was nixed, it was reported that Houston remained engaged with Armstead’s camp, though the two sides could agree on a fair compensation. ‘

Bringing in Armstead may have been part of an arms race within the division, simultaneously preventing the Texans from continually improving. Houston upgraded its front-seven after finishing top-10 in run defense by adding defensive lineman Denico Autry and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaiir, along with four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter

The Texans still should be in the market for a more stable defensive tackle. Since Armstead’s signing, they’ve inked minor deals with Tim Settle and Mario Edwards Jr. for depth. The Texans also added former Jags starter Foley Fatukasi following his release before the start of free agency. 

Houston could use its first pick on finding a long-term three-tech, though names like Texas’ Byron Murphy and Illinois’ Johnny Newton will likely be off the board. Initially, mock drafts linked the two defensive linemen as plug-and-play options at pick No. 23, but the Texans have since traded the pick to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for pick No. 42 (second-round), pick No. 188 (sixth-round) and a 2025 second-round pick. 

Where do the Texans turn now? Several mocks, including NFL.com’s Chad Reuter, have Houston targeting Texas defensive tackle and reiging Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year T’Vondre Sweat to the Texans with the 59th pick.

Houston’s roster construction rivals San Francisco’s, which ‘prioritized the defensive line during the early parts of their rebuild. Drafting Sweat would only add to the comparison and bring a nice blend of experience and youth to the defensive line.

Caserio pivoted several times throughout the offseason, and Armstead’s signing with Jacksonville is just one example.  

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire