As we wake up this morning, on the day when pens can finally hit paper on free agents signing with other NFL teams, there is plenty of Texans news to dig into, so without further ado, let's start with the saddest news first:
Ben Jones to Sign With Titans
Yeah, that's right...first they steal our football team 20 years ago, and now those assholes in Nashville, they have taken Ben Jones! As first reported by the venerable Barry Warner (and confirmed by the even more venerable Jim Mudd!), Jones is expected to sign a four-year deal with the Titans when free agency opens later today. Jones played guard for the first three years as Chris Myers was a fixture at center, then, when the Texans released Myers prior to the 2015 season, Jones moved back to his more natural center position, where, comparatively, he flourished. With a new quarterback in O'Brien's system, possibly a rookie, breaking in a new center at the same time makes the reps together in camp all the more important. Possible solutions on the roster include Greg Mancz, moving Xavier Su'a-Filo from left guard, or a wild card of David Quessenberry returning from a two-year absence because of lymphoma. Meanwhile, we will miss Jones's jocularity, his Fuddruckers commercials, and his tales of bodily functions...
...meanwhile, in other Texans offensive line news...
Clark Re-signs, Brooks Watches Market Soar
The Texans did retain one player along the offensive line on Tuesday. In a subtle, solid move, the Texans re-signed swing tackle Chris Clark to a deal. Clark was brought to Houston before the 2015 season in a trade with the Denver Broncos for a late-round pick, and wound up playing meaningful snaps at both tackle spots, including a start in the playoff game against the Chiefs after incumbent starter Duane Brown went down with a quad injury in Week 17. The Texans now have five tackles under contract (Clark, Brown, Derek Newton, Kendall Lamm and Jeff Adams). Meanwhile, the Texans remain in the hunt to re-sign right guard Brandon Brooks, who quietly had a great day on Tuesday when the top guard on the market, Kelechi Osemele, signed a monster deal with the Oakland Raiders, six years averaging almost $12 million per year. Brooks stands to cash in now to where re-signing with the Texans might mean making him the highest-paid player on the offensive side of the ball...well, until DeAndre Hopkins signs his extension and until...
Brock Osweiler and Broncos Not Really Talking
So it would appear that the Brock Osweiler Sweepstakes (yeah, that's right...a sweepstakes for Brock Freaking Osweiler) is down to the Houston Texans and the Denver Broncos, and quite honestly, if what James Palmer of the NFL Network reported Tuesday night is true, the 6-foot-8 Osweiler might be the Texans' to lose...
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The Broncos & Brock Osweiler's reps haven't had any negotiations since the Broncos initial 3-year offer several days ago.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) March 9, 2016
In addition to the Texans homing in on a quarterback, they might be zeroing in on a starting running back as well, as multiple reports on Tuesday have the Texans linked closely to Miami Dolphins free agent RB Lamar Miller. Miller ran for nearly 900 yards last season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and is probably best remembered by Texans fans for rushing for 175 yards on just 12 carries in an October 25 game in Miami in which the Dolphins led the Texans 41-0 at halftime. Osweiler and Miller would both be major upgrades over Brian Hoyer and Alfrathan Blue-Grimypolk, the bigger question might end up being "Who blocks for them?"
Other Texans-Related Free Agency Notes
Running back Jonathan Grimes, a restricted free agent, was not tendered an offer and is free to sign with any team...restricted free agent safety Eddie Pleasant re-signed with the Texans on a two-year deal...the Texans placed a $1.671 million tender on cornerback A.J. Bouye...the Texans are reportedly showing interest in Cleveland wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who would provide a deep threat opposite DeAndre Hopkins.
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.