On cutdown day in the NFL, there were a flurry of moves. Maybe teams got better, or worse, but mostly the moves made sense.
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The Texans have famously gone without a general manager since Brian Gaine was suddenly fired, and maybe that was a mistake. The feeling is that coach Bill O’Brien is the main decision maker, though there is officially a committee operating as the Texans’ GM.
And they made moves that puzzled the NFL on Saturday.
Texans made a flurry of moves
Where to start? The biggest move on Saturday might have been the Jadeveon Clowney trade to Seattle. There was a report that Clowney would have signed his franchise tag tender, but then found out the Texans were shopping him in a trade. After Houston botched that, and Clowney didn’t like his visit to Miami, the Texans seemed to panic.
Clowney was scooped up from Seattle for a third-round pick, and edge defenders Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin, neither of whom are impact players. Even if Clowney plays one year for Seattle and leaves, the compensatory pick they’ll get should match the third-round pick they gave up. Houston got very little in return for one of their superstars.
If Clowney wasn’t the biggest move in the NFL on Saturday, it was the crazy trade with the Dolphins later in the afternoon.
Houston at least got a left tackle
Houston getting left tackle Laremy Tunsil from the Dolphins isn’t bad. He’s a good, young player and Deshaun Watson needs some protection. Receiver Kenny Stills seems a bit redundant with Will Fuller and Keke Coutee on the roster. And for Tunsil and Stills, the Texans gave up ... two first-round picks and a second-round pick. That’s massive. Houston also got a fourth-round pick back, and the Dolphins got special teamer Johnson Bademosi and offensive tackle Julie’n Davenport, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
To top things off the Texans traded offensive lineman Martinas Rankin for running back Carlos Hyde, who slid quickly down the depth chart in Kansas City and is now on his fifth team in less than two years. The Texans needed a running back after losing Pro Bowler Lamar Miller to a torn ACL in the third preseason game, though they had Duke Johnson (for whom they traded a fourth-round pick that can become a third) and Hyde is no sure thing. On Saturday, Houston also sent a sixth-round pick to the Patriots for cornerback Keion Crossen according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
If the Texans were going to ship off so many picks, why trade Clowney for so little? Was the Dolphins trade worth it considering Stills’ role might be hard to pinpoint? Is Hyde really going to fix Houston’s running game?
O’Brien has won apparent power struggles against multiple general managers, but he also might be feeling some heat himself. The road to the AFC South is wide open with Andrew Luck’s retirement. But if Houston did improve at all Saturday for this season — and considering they lost Clowney, it’s hard to argue that — it came at a heavy price for the future.
O’Brien and the Texans’ committee at general manager better be right about their Saturday moves. Nobody else seems to know what they’re doing.
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