Texans GM Nick Caserio focused on internal free agents first

Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio has his work cut out for himself this offseason.

While the roster is in very good shape, Houston has several key players who could become free agents very soon. Players like defensive end Jonathan Greenard, tight end Dalton Schultz and running back Devin Singletary are some of the biggest names who could hit the open market if the Texans decide not to re-sign them.

So as free agency approaches, Caserio said he’s focused on making decisions on those players before he thinks about external free agents.

“We’re working through the process with them,” Caserio said at the NFL scouting combine this weekend. “We have as many free agents as any team in the league, so we’ve had a lot of dialogue, constructive dialogue with a number of representatives and free agents.”

The Texans have the money to spend – around $67 million in salary cap space – but it’s unclear how frugal or lavish Caserio plans to be the team’s money in 2024. Houston won the AFC South and a first-round playoff game without breaking the bank in free agency, so it stands to reason they could do it again. That’s especially true with C.J. Stroud on a rookie quarterback contract and playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Houston made inexpensive bets on players like Schultz and Singletary this past season that paid off. Schultz became a reliable target for Stroud and Singletary emerged as the lead back.

Greenard, meanwhile, led the team in sacks and finished with a career season. Other defensive players like linebacker Blake Cashman and cornerback Steven Nelson proved to be great fits in DeMeco Ryans defense. But all could be looking to earn a sizable contract this offseason.

So, the balancing act comes down to whether or not Caserio wants to pay for in-house players he knows or roll the dice on paying for players he might not know. That’s why it sounds as though he’s interested in bringing back more of the internal free agents first.

“I’ve always been a believer that you have to know your team better than any other team and any other player that’s out there,” he said. “So, we have the most information available on our players. From what happens on the field to their performance data to their health. We have an idea of what their role is and how they fit the system.

“When you’re dealing with players outside the building sometimes that are unknown it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t fit what we’re doing but you’re trying to benchmark said player. Is this player similar? Does he have the same role? Is he better in this area? Are you going to get a little bit less?”

Caserio isn’t given anything away, but Greenard and Schultz reportedly have interest in returning to Houston. The Texans will also have to decide how they want to proceed with a potential Nico Collins extension as well.

This is a big offseason for Caserio, Ryans and the Texans. After a year in which Houston rose from the bottom of the league to one of its final eight, every decision will matter in how the 2024 season will play out.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire