The Houston Texans will have to make a decision with Jonathan Greenard. Either the Texans re-sign their former 2020 third-rounder at the end of the season, or they let Greenard test free agency. Given the defensive end is leading the team with 3.5 sacks, Greenard may be able to score a contract that Houston finds too pricey.
In the event Greenard gets away from the Texans, the organization has to be prepared, and UCLA defensive end Gabriel Murphy has to be a part of that contingency.
According to Trevor Sikkema from Pro Football Focus, the Bruin edge defender benefits from playing opposite Laiatu Latu, but Murphy’s complementary work is nonetheless noteworthy if a team is looking to collect pass rushers.
2023 is the second season of great pass-rush production from Murphy. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder is used on both sides of the field — and sometimes even as an interior rusher — and it has yielded success. His 18.6% pass-rush win rate in 2022 has been bested by his 22.4% clip so far this season.
Murphy’s hand work is so good, often disengaging with blockers before they can even reach him and making sure they can’t get ahold of him as he attacks the outside or inside shoulders. Despite his 91.2 pass-rush grade this season, he isn’t getting the love his production warrants.
The Texans’ defense begins with the front. Having Murphy would allow the Texans to get younger at the position and also keep a veteran contract off their salary cap.
Through seven games, Murphy has generated 18 combined tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and a pass breakup.