Free Agency 2015: Texans Re-Sign Inside Linebacker Akeem Dent

An underrated subplot of the Texans' last two off seasons, 2014 and the current one in 2015, has been their ability to somehow flip their discarded quarterback into actual NFL transaction currency. Instead of Matt Schaub, T.J. yates, Case Keenum, and Ryan Fitzpatrick being NFL garbage, the Texans were actually able to convince teams they were NFL recyclables.

Schaub was legendarily traded to the Raiders for a sixth round pick (which was eventually used on running back Alfred Blue), Keenum was flipped for a conditional late round pick in 2016, as was Fitzpatrick.

The only discarded quarterback they moved for an actual player was Yates, who was traded to Atlanta for inside linebacker Akeem Dent. Affirmation that this was a deal the Texans feel like they won came Tuesday when they chose to bring back Dent next season on a two year contract.

Dent was one of a handful of unrestricted free agents that were Texans in 2014, and continues the trend this offseason of players choosing to return to Houston on new deals (Kareem Jackson, Derek Newton, Ryan Mallett, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Tarpinian), as opposed to the last few seasons, which has been closer to a mass exodus.

After coming over from Atlanta before the start of the preseason, Dent started seven of the 15 games he played in last season and recorded 27 tackles, six quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and a sack. He was one of the fixtures on special teams, recording 11 special teams tackles, good enough for second on the team behind Tarpinian. His most notable performance was in a Week 11 win at Cleveland where he matched a season-high with five tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hit, and a sack.

During his three seasons with Atlanta (2011-13), Dent made 20 regular season starts and totaled 108 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three passes defensed, four quarterback hits, 10 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble. In 2011, Dent was named to the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-Rookie team after recording 19 special teams tackles in 16 games. Dent also played in three postseason games with Atlanta where he recorded 16 tackles and one tackle for loss. For his career, Dent has made 38 special teams tackles. Dent was drafted by the Falcons in the third round (91st overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia.

For Texan fans hoping for free agency help at inside linebacker (cough, Brandon Spikes, cough), this signing likely closes the door on that. The Texans have no brought back essentially their entire depth chart at that position with Dent joining incumbent starter Brian Cushing, along with Mike Mohamed, Justin Tuggle, and Tarpinian.

Following are the free agents the Texans signed (4): QB Brian Hoyer (6-2, 215), Unrestricted free agent (Cleveland) FS Rahim Moore (6-1, 195), Unrestricted free agent (Denver) WR Cecil Shorts III (6-0, 202), Unrestricted free agent (Jacksonville) DT Vince Wilfork (6-2, 325), Unrestricted free agent (New England)

Following are the free agents the Texans have re-signed (5): ILB Akeem Dent (6-1, 239) Unrestricted CB Kareem Jackson (5-10, 188) Unrestricted QB Ryan Mallett (6-6, 245) Unrestricted T Derek Newton (6-6, 313) Unrestricted ILB Jeff Tarpinian (6-3, 240) Restricted

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast