Texans’ free agency spending signals a team tanking in 2021

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Mark Lane
·2 min read
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The Houston Texans signed a flurry of free agents and made three trades as new general manager Nick Caserio retooled the roster.

According to Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus, the moves just scream that of a rebuilding team that is bracing for tanking in 2021.

Whether or not it’s Houston’s intention, this free agency period is that of a “tanking” team commencing a rebuild. For that reason, I have no qualms with any deal dished out to these non-impactful free agent signings as it gets them in prime position to secure the No. 1 pick in 2022.

But if the Texans are genuinely trying to win, the worst decision stands out as bringing back Vernon Hargreaves III. It was only for one year, but he is currently penciled in as the starter opposite Bradley Roby. That sets them up for disaster, as Hargreaves earned the sixth-lowest-graded coverage grade among outside corners in 2020 (37.3).

As far as cornerback goes, Hargreaves did start for 16 games in 2020. However, the Texans have other options acquired in free agency in Desmond King and Terrance Mitchell. King started five of nine games played for the Tennessee Titans, who would go on to win the AFC South. Mitchell started all 16 games for the Cleveland Browns and recorded 13 pass breakups along with three forced fumbles.

What the Texans did in free agency was go out and address holes along the roster with veterans that offer depth as their best asset. Instead of getting by with Phillip Gaines in the middle of the season, the Texans were able to cull from the available free agent pool and get someone who may know a thing or two about the new scheme defensive coordinator Lovie Smith is going to use in the Tampa-2. Houston’s roster construction is that of a team looking to get through the season and maybe win some games along the way.

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