The Duane Brown era officially ended in Houston on Monday. The alert popped up on our phones shortly after 6 p.m. that the Texans sent their starting left tackle to the Seattle Seahawks for CB Jeremy Lane, a 2018 fifth round pick, and a 2019 second round pick. The trade was then amended last night after Lane failed his physical for the Texans, sending Brown and their 2018 fifth round pick to the Seahawks for their 2018 third round pick and that 2019 second round pick.
All in all, that’s a pretty good haul for a guy who had no desire to be here, and who had become the face and voice of opposition to ownership over the past several days, not to mention the guy who younger players were deferring to on topics like anthem protests and misapplied idioms by the team's owner.
The Texans will miss Duane Brown’s stellar blocking — that skill now belongs to the Seahawks. With Brown now gone, how the remaining players decide to handle the aftermath of Sunday’s mass kneeling in Seattle during the anthem will be both telling and intriguing. The next game is at home against the Colts; it includes a salute to the troops, and has President George H.W. Bush as the honorary captain. Could get awkward with all the kneeling, just saying.
So let's see who won and lost in this Duane Brown situation...
4. Rick Smith
Given his druthers, Smith's first choice would probably have been to have a happy Duane Brown gleefully blocking for Deshaun Watson until the day that Brown stops playing football. However, Brown's holdout (and subsequent tongue lashing for Bob McNair last Friday) made that impossible. So Smith now has another third round pick to work with in 2018, giving him three overall including their own and the compensatory pick they'll get for A.J. Bouye leaving. That's enough equity to make a move into the second round for sure. The second round pick in 2019 is nice, too. Also, Smith's policy of no renegotiations with multiple years left on a contract (except if you're J.J. Watt or Andre Johnson) remains intact.
3. Kendall Lamm
Wow, what a week for Lamm. He was one of my four losers in the "Brown returns" post I did last week, because I thought (correctly, as it turned out) that he would get cut. Well, guess who got re-signed by the Texans on Tuesday...Kendall Lamm! I'm actually curious what he did with his one weekend off.
2. Russell Wilson
Wilson has spent the past couple of years running and scrambling for his life behind one of the most putrid offensive lines in all of football. It's been football malpractice, really — your franchise quarterback behind an absolute sieve of an offensive line. (Wait, I now feel like I'm describing the Texans...is it too late for me to erase Rick Smith in the above bullet point?) So now Wilson has an upper-tier left tackle to protect his blind side and to run behind in the fourth quarter of games when the Seahawks are trying to grind out clock. On top of all that, Wilson had the remainder of his salary this season, around $6 million, converted into a one-time payment to make salary cap room for Brown's arrival. All in all a good day for Wilson, that he celebrated by going as Pete Carroll for Halloween...
1. Duane Brown
Putting Duane Brown, the centerpiece of this whole saga, in a winner or loser category all boils down to one question — what was most important to Duane? If his legacy here in Houston with a large segment of the fan base is not important to him, and if playing for a chance at a Super Bowl somewhere other than for Bob McNair's franchise (and maybe making more money, eventually) is what he wants, then he got what he wanted. It cost him more than $3 million in lost salary, but that's his money, and if he's cool with losing that money, again, that's his choice. I wish him well in Seattle. For me, Duane was always fun to work with, and a class act.
4. Bill O'Brien
Call me crazy, but given the fact that he's on the front of the firing line every Sunday for this team, I'm guessing O'Brien would rather be calling plays for an offense with a plus-level left tackle than speculating as to who the Texans might use a third round pick in 2018 and a second round pick in 2019 to select.
3. The Texans first round pick narrative
Hey, remember how much the Texans like to tout that they are the only team in the NFL with all of their first round picks going back to 2008 still playing with the team? Well, with Brown, the 26th overall pick in 2008, now gone, that has ended with a somewhat acrimonious thud. Brian Cushing, the 15th overall pick in 2009, is now the most tenured Texan, and we can see the direction that one is going. With J.J. Watt (11th overall pick in 2011) and Whitney Mercilus (26th overall pick in 2012) out for the season with injuries, there's never been a more harrowing time to be a Texans first round pick!
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2. Xavier Su'a-Filo
In his fourth season, Su'a-Filo has continued to his tenure as a train wreck of a revolving door at left guard for the Texans. In his tumultuous career in Houston, Su'a-Filo has generally played much better football (which is to say he is like a four instead of a two on a scale of one to ten) with Duane Brown playing next to him. My feeling was that getting Brown back was almost like the Texans upgrading two spots because of the effect his presence would have on Su'a-Filo. Well, I suppose that's out the window now.
That's right, folks. Pray for...
1. Deshaun Watson
Hey, Deshaun, how do you feel about Chris Clark and Kendall Lamm as the listed names at left tackle on your depth chart...don't lie, how do you REALLY feel?
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.