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One Year Rebuild: Houston Texans

Saying the Texans are in a rough position this offseason is being generous. To be frank, the only thing appealing about the Houston Texans rebuild is their generational quarterback named Deshaun Watson. But even he is answering his texts less than a 19-year-old girl after a bad first date with some guy she met on tinder who only talks about “full-sending” every Friday night. 

The Texans have brought in a new General Manager with Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio taking the position and are on search for a new head coach. Although they were late to the punch in requesting to talk to Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, the one candidate Watson wanted the team to interview.

Disclaimer: The One Year Rebuild isn’t meant to give your team the Super Bowl right away, most rebuilds don’t end that way if we are being honest, all that I am trying to do is give my path for success to fans that desperately need one.

Background: Because the salary cap has been decimated by Covid-19 the Texans are projected to start with negative cap space. For a team that lacked success this season that is not a good sign going forward. The Texans are projected to have negative $17.5 million in cap space, yes negative, that was not a typo, per Over The Cap. The Texans do have some flexible contracts that they will need to get rid of. 

With a new head coach, a first time general manager, no first or second round pick and a disgruntled Watson, this dumpster fire is going to be my most difficult rebuild yet. And rebuild may be a generous term.

Trade Deshaun Watson? How the Texans should handle the first round of the NFL Draft:

Should the Texans move on from their star quarterback? (Photo via AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

This may be bold, but hear me out….. Just kidding, you don’t trade Watson unless you are offered a haul that pales in comparison to what the Washington Football Team offered to get Robert Griffin III prior to the 2012 NFL Draft.

Why did Nick Caserio want this job? How the Texans should handle the second round of the NFL Draft: The Texans do not own a second round pick, so the only thing Caserio and the Texans should do is order dinner and wonder how Bill O’Brien messed this up so badly.

Add a Pass Rusher: How the Texans should handle the third round of the NFL Draft:

The Texans may need to address their pass-rush and Wake Forest’s Carlos “Boogie” Basham may be a great option for them. (Photo via Winston-Salem Journal)

To win games in the NFL you need to have the ability to get to the quarterback. With a roster this depleted turnovers and sacks may be the only way for this defense to make a difference and offer any type of significant aid to Deshaun Watson. 

Whoever the top pass-rusher left on the board at the 67th overall pick is should be the selection. The Texans will likely be choosing from the likes of Quincy Roche from Miami, Shaka Toney out of Penn State, and Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. from Wake Forest.

Basham has a dominant frame that fits the Texans scheme perfectly, not to mention he’s a hard-worker with great power-rush moves. Basham may not have elite-upside, but the combination of his talent and on-field work ethic gives him the potential to be a consistent threat to the quarterback. 

Free Agency:

Is it time for J.J. Watt and the Texans to go separate ways? (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

This is going to be one of my shortest free agency breakdowns because of the Texans cap struggles. 

Houston gave Caserio a six-year deal to be the architect of their rebuild because fixing this roster won’t happen overnight. Texans fans should be ready for an exhausting marathon of a rebuild in which the collective media expresses their weekly sympathy for Watson’s situation, and rightfully so.

The Texans are in cap hell and the first step to getting out of it is releasing arguably the franchises greatest player: J.J. Watt. The future Hall of Fame inductee is tired of losing and has no dead-cap if, but most likely when the Texans move on from him. 

That still might not be enough for the Texans to get under the cap, depending on where the league sets the salary cap in the coming months. Either way, the Texans will most likely have to shed more salary and let wide receiver Will Fuller walk in free agency.

Releasing Brandin Cooks is an obvious answer, but letting the team’s best receiver go doesn’t seem like the best way to appease your disgruntled quarterback. Fortunately, there are other options. Cutting the running back duo of David and Duke Johnson (they are not related) can save the Texans $12 million, according to Over The Cap, and moving on from Benardrick McKinney can save the team another $7 million and a number of other minor transactions can be made to give the team a little more than $20 million in cap space.

Obviously the Texans will need to address the running back position with some under the radar signings and possibly a day three pick. A couple of my favorites options later in the draft are Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill or Ohio State’s Master Teague. Signing Malcolm Brown of the Rams and Brian Hill of the Falcons potentially offers the team a nice combination of running and receiving that shouldn’t cost them too much. This doesn’t give the Texans flashy names or even much reason to be excited, but this franchise doesn’t deserve either right now. 

Photo via AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

Houston also needs to replace Will Fuller and they could do this in the draft, but they probably won’t have the draft capital to adequately replace Fuller or the cap space to bring him back. So adding a proven depth receiver who can be a dynamic playmaker is crucial. The option I have in mind is Isaiah McKenzie, a consistent receiver, if not a flashy one for the Bills. His numbers aren’t overwhelming, but he’s as reliable as can be.

A fourth receiver may be of value if they don’t select one in the first four rounds of the draft and Zay Jones may be the right guy. He won’t cost too much money and has always had some upside and an elite-athletic profile. Jones may be a swing and a miss, but giving him a shot won’t hurt anybody.  

I could continue to break down the defense and offensive line transactions, but it honestly doesn’t feel necessary to break down a bunch of unknowns who will help this team win a maximum of six games.

The Texans are currently a craphole of an organization and I feel bad for anyone with actual talent who is stuck there.

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