We can now pretty much close the book on the Houston Texans' list of 2016 free agents, as nearly every single player whose contract was up at the end of last season has now found a home, with several remaining with the team and a number of somewhat significant ones moving on.
On Wednesday, both buckets — players staying and players going — added one more player.
First, we will start with the player deciding to stay with the Texans, and that's outside linebacker John Simon, who signed his one-year restricted free agent tender offer of $1.67 million. The Texans signed Simon off of the Ravens' practice squad back in October 2014, and he's turned into a serviceable player in the linebacker rotation, having played in 27 games over two seasons.
In 2015, Simon established career highs in practically every statistical category, playing in all 16 games and notching 49 tackles, five sacks and 11 quarterback hits. He was also a fixture on special teams, garnering four tackles there, as well. Simon struggled at times containing the run and setting the edge, and in a perfect world, he'd be the third outside linebacker in a rotation with starters Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney, but Clowney's shaky health throughout 2015 led to Simon's starting eight games last season.
On the other side of the free agent ledger, the offseason saga of defensive end Jared Crick has finally come to an end, with Crick inking a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos worth $4 million. Depending on how you view Crick, he is either a "lunch pail" type of player who works hard and tries to do the most with what God gave him, or he is a null set who could only parlay 31 starts at defensive end opposite J.J. Watt into 5.5 sacks.
Crick was a fourth-round pick out of Nebraska back in 2012, a former double-digit sack guy his sophomore and junior years whose stock fell after an injury-plagued senior campaign. In his first two seasons in the NFL, he was used exclusively as a reserve behind Antonio Smith before taking over as the starter in Bill O'Brien's first season.
Now, Crick will head to Denver, which seems to be the new soft landing spot for former Texans, the same way that Houston was the soft landing spot for former Broncos during Kubiak's tenure as the Texans' head coach. Crick will be playing for the head coach, defensive coordinator (Wade Phillips) and position coach (Bill Kollar) who drafted him into the league in 2012.
From the Texans' perspective, Crick's departure means that exactly one draftee from the 2012 draft class is still with the team, first-round pick Whitney Mercilus. The remaining players were as follows:
3 (68). DeVier Posey, traded to Jets, now with (surprise, surprise) the Broncos
3 (76). Brandon Brooks, signed with Eagles
4 (99). Ben Jones, signed with Titans
4 (121). Keshawn Martin, traded to Patriots
4 (126). Jared Crick, signed with Broncos
5 (161). Randy Bullock, released after Week 3 2015, signed with Jets (future Bronco, for sure)
6 (195). Nick Mondek, possibly working at Chick Fil A (I have no idea)
For what it's worth, that leaves the Texans with five total players still with the team from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 draft classes — J.J. Watt, Derek Newton, Mercilus, DeAndre Hopkins and Ryan Griffin. I know there's always more to just the drafting and retention of players in building a roster, but damn, that's not good.
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Here is the latest book on the Texans' 2016 free agent class, courtesy of Texans PR:
Following are the free agents the Texans have signed (5):
S Antonio Allen (6-1, 210), Unrestricted (New York Jets)
G Jeff Allen (6-4, 306), Unrestricted (Kansas City)
C Tony Bergstrom (6-5, 315), Unrestricted (Oakland)
RB Lamar Miller (5-10, 225), Unrestricted (Miami)
QB Brock Osweiler (6-8, 240), Unrestricted (Denver)
Following are the players the Texans have re-signed (10):
G/T Jeff Adams (6-7, 305), Contract Extension
CB A.J. Bouye (6-0, 191). Restricted
T Chris Clark (6-5, 305), Unrestricted
RB Jonathan Grimes (5-10, 209), Free Agent
CB Charles James (5-9, 179), Contract Extension
P Shane Lechler (6-2, 237), Unrestricted
K Nick Novak (6-0, 198), Unrestricted
S Eddie Pleasant (5-10, 210), Free Agent
OLB John Simon (6-1, 252), Restricted
QB Brandon Weeden (6-4, 228), Unrestricted
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