Houston Texans Free Agents: Who Will Be Back? Who Will Be Gone?

Houston Texans Free Agents: Who Will Be Back? Who Will Be Gone?EXPAND
Marco Torres

As we saw earlier this week, the offseason evaluation for the Texans and head coach Bill O'Brien has already begun. Monday, three assistant coaches were shown the door, and now the offseason process of evaluating the roster, which happens in a fluid manner throughout the season anyway, begins.

There will be copious amounts of draft chatter over the next few months, as always. This offseason, we are all hopeful in Houston that the days on end of YouTube QB highlight absorption actually end with something better than Tom Savage. However, before we get to the draft this spring, there are free agents to either bring back or say goodbye to. Below is the complete list of free agents who just finished the season as Houston Texans, with brief commentary on each and a likelihood percentage that he will return.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (11)

SHANE LECHLER, Punter
AGE:
39
2015 CAP HIT: $2,083,334
OUTLOOK: The future Hall of Fame punter did not have a great season, but is still a reliable (albeit expensive for the position) option. It may be up to Lechler as to whether or not he plans on coming back as he is approaching age 40. 
LIKELIHOOD: 50%

BRANDON BROOKS, Guard
AGE:
26
2015 CAP HIT: $1,696,359
OUTLOOK: Consistently one of the highest graded performers along the offensive line the last two seasons, and one of the few remaining success stories from the last couple Kubiak Era drafts. Could get a crazy offer from a team desperate for interior line help. I don't think the Texans will overpay.
LIKELIHOOD: 55%

BEN JONES, Center
AGE:
26
2015 CAP HIT: $1,662,362
OUTLOOK: Was the only constant on the offensive line all season, and was solid enough. His renowned acumen as the brains of the offensive line was necessary this season with the constant revolving doors on either side of him. Won't have to break the bank to keep him. Popular player. 
LIKELIHOOD: 85%

JARED CRICK
AGE:
26
2015 CAP HIT: $1,639,875
OUTLOOK: For a guy who plays on the same defensive line as J.J. Watt, Crick's ability to flash is limited, although he plays a position that is not very flash-friendly (unless your name is J.J. Watt). I'd only bring him back for regular "just a guy" money, nothing more. 
LIKELIHOOD: 60%

CHRIS CLARK
AGE:
30
2015 CAP HIT: $1,400,000
OUTLOOK: Picked him up for a late round pick from Denver and gave the team solid snaps. Could be worth it to secure the swing tackle spot with a veteran like Clark, especially with Duane Brown returning from injury.
LIKELIHOOD: 75%

CHRIS POLK
AGE:
26
2015 CAP HIT: $747,500
OUTLOOK: Part of a rotation of underwhelming running backs after Arian Foster went down with the Achilles injury, Polk seemed to fall out of favor by the end of the year. High point of the season for him was probably Bill O'Brien gushing over his film on Hard Knocks.
LIKELIHOOD: 10%

NATE WASHINGTON
AGE:
32
2015 CAP HIT: $615,000
OUTLOOK: For every play Washington made during the season, there seemed to be two crucial drops of very catchable balls. As cheap veteran wideouts go, you can do better than Washington. 
LIKELIHOOD: 5%

QUINTIN DEMPS
AGE:
30
2015 CAP HIT: $585,000
OUTLOOK: A revelation as a street free agent who was solid enough as a starting safety. The turnaround for this team coincided with a number of things, one of which was the insertion of Demps and Andre Hal as the starting safeties for good. Shouldn't be too pricy to keep him.
LIKELIHOOD: 65%

NICK NOVAK
AGE:
34
2015 CAP HIT: $481,764
OUTLOOK: Brought in to replace Randy Bullock after a tryout in Week 3. Solid enough as a place kicker, abysmal as a kickoff guy. Texans can do better (and should pray the Steelers don't keep Chris Boswell). 
LIKELIHOOD: 5%

T.J. YATES
AGE:
28
2015 CAP HIT: $344,117 
OUTLOOK: After being pulled off the couch in Week 8, came in and cemented his legacy as a Texans fan favorite with the winning TD pass against the Bengals and win over the Jets. Torn ACL changes the metrics on his retention, though. Doubtful there's much of a market for him coming off that injury. 
LIKELIHOOD: 10%

BRANDON WEEDEN
AGE:
32
2015 CAP HIT: $271,764 
OUTLOOK: Like Yates, came in and threw a TD pass in a huge win at Indy, and then won his only start the following week at Tennessee. An intriguing candidate as a backup given his age and first round set of tools, but probably doesn't return if the team brings back Hoyer, Savage, and a drafted rookie. 
LIKELIHOOD: 15%

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (7)
Without getting into too much detail on the restricted free agency rules, these are all players on whom the Texans would have a chance to match any offer from another team...

A.J. BOUYE
AGE:
24
2015 CAP HIT: $586,668
OUTLOOK: Backup/nickel corner who's had his moments, good and bad. 
LIKELIHOOD: 80%

JUSTIN TUGGLE
AGE:
26
2015 CAP HIT: $585,834
OUTLOOK: Kubiak Era holdover who fell out of favor in the second half of the season, scratched for the final several weeks of the season and postseason. Not a good omen.
LIKELIHOOD: 10%

JOHNATHAN GRIMES
AGE:
26
2015 CAP HIT: $585,000
OUTLOOK: The one guy in the offensive backfield that everyone seemed to want to see more of. The coaching staff seems to be clear on how they see him — change of pace guy, occasional wildcat QB, try hard "good teammate" fella. 
LIKELIHOOD: 85%

DARRYL MORRIS
AGE:
25
2015 CAP HIT: $585,000
OUTLOOK: Was better in 2014 than 2015. Fell behind Charles James on the secondary depth chart almost immediately after James was brought in, which is a sign of where he stands.
LIKELIHOOD: 50%

EDDIE PLEASANT
AGE:
27
2015 CAP HIT: $585,000
OUTLOOK: Made real improvement and contributed as a dime safety in the second half of the season, making plays and improving in coverage. 
LIKELIHOOD: 90%

JOHN SIMON
AGE:
25
2015 CAP HIT: $585,000
OUTLOOK:Decent as a pass rusher for a third outside LB, abysmal holding the edge in the run game. Doubtful there's a huge market for him, so I'm guessing he will be back in camp.
LIKELIHOOD: 70%

JEFF ADAMS
AGE:
26
2015 CAP HIT: $353,823
OUTLOOK: Injured in Week 2 against Carolina, entered the season starting at left guard, which was an awkward position for him. Probably back in as a camp body, assuming he's healthy. 
LIKELIHOOD: 65%

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (3)

BRANDON DUNN
AGE:
23
2015 CAP HIT: $360,000
OUTLOOK: Signed off the street during the season, made a play here and a play there. Whatever. 
LIKELIHOOD: 50%

COREY MOORE, Safety
AGE:
22
2015 CAP HIT: $25,588
OUTLOOK: Best known for a) having Charles James scream at him during Hard Knocks and b) getting a penalty on his first special teams play as a pro. Guessing he will be back as a cheap body.
LIKELIHOOD: 95%

CHARLES JAMES, Cornerback
AGE:
25
2015 CAP HIT: $510,000
OUTLOOK: Fan favorite and final cut out of cam, was brought back in before the Miami game to help shore up special teams. Also, saw time as a nickel corner. The quintessential "good teammate, good story, do anything to get on the field" guy. Finished season on injured reserve with a broken foot. 
LIKELIHOOD: 90%

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.  


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