For the Houston Texans, the 2015 free agency period has largely been about taking care of their own, making sure that they keep foundational pieces in place to continue building toward "something."
Kareem Jackson got his deal done (4 years, $34 million, $20 million guaranteed). Derek Newton got his deal done (5 years, $26 million, $10 million guaranteed). Ryan Mallett is coming back on a "prove it to me" deal for two years. Even the stark, raving Tarpamaniacs got some satisfaction with special teams ace Jeff Tarpinian back on a one year deal!
It took the texans a few days to go seeking upgrades to positions by going outside the organization, but it finally happened late last week as safety Rahim Moore became a Houston Texan.
Moore flew into town late last week, and within 24 hours, completed the details on a three year, $12 million deal ($4.5 million guaranteed). The 2011 second round pick out of UCLA had four interceptions and forced two fumbles last season, which would make him a perfect fit for a defense that led the league in forced turnovers with 34.
Moore should have no problem hitting the ground running in acclimating himself to his new teammates, as he already has some long standing relationships with his new secondary-mates (courtesy of the Houston Chronicle):
"When I found out the Texans wanted me, I immediately said, 'I want to be a Texan," he said. "I told everyone. I was telling people I was going to be a Texan before I even came here. I just envisioned myself in that jersey and envisioned myself playing with some of my partners on the team.
"Defense wins championships. I realize that with this defense we have (and) the players that are here, it's a great fit for me. I know I'm going to be very comfortable here."
Moore, who started every game for the Broncos last season, is good friends with cornerback Kareem Jackson and strong safety D.J. Swearinger.
Jackson, who signed a four-year, $34 million contract last week, and Moore have been offseason workout partners.
"That's like my big brother," Moore said about Jackson "We trained together in the offseason for the past four years. He's done so much for me.
"D.J., me and him are real close. We train together like day in and day out, so we have a great connection already. I just want to round the guys up and get this rolling."
For a player who was fairly productive, Moore's time in Denver was certainly star crossed, both on the field and off the field. Of course, he will always be remembered in Denver for his misplay of a Joe Flacco deep ball to Jacoby Jones that allowed the Ravens to send a divisional round game to overtime, an eventual home loss for the Broncos and the first step in a life changing Super Bowl run for both Flacco and Jones.
Then halfway through the 2013 season, Moore was diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome in his lower left leg, a condition in the muscle which nearly led to his leg being amputated, or in a worst case, death. It was a dose of perspective for Moore, who is thankful just to be playing, let alone inking a deal for millions of dollars.
"Before the (2014) season, I was thinking about retiring," said Moore. "I'm a very thankful man to be standing, to be able to join this organization and to play the game of football that I love."
After signing Moore, the Texans' attention turned to incumbent free safety Kendrick Lewis, himself also a free agent. Despite the presence of third year strong safety D.J. Swearinger and the signing of Moore, Romeo Crennel wanted Lewis back, given how often teams are in nickel and dime packages in today's NFL.
However, Lewis had different ideas. On Saturday, he signed a three year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
Lewis was one of the more underrated success stories of Rick Smith's tenure as Texans general manager, having led the 2014 Texans in tackles (84) and having picked off two passes (including one touchdown against the Colts) all for the low, low price of the veteran's minimum salary of $730,000.
Given how abysmal the Texans have been in getting any degree of productivity from their middle round draft choices in the last couple draft classes (the NFL's "cheap labor"), Lewis' performance was part of a necessary trend in the secondary which saw the Texans get meaningful snaps and decent output from minimum salary castoff types -- Lewis, Danieal Manning, A.J. Bouye, Darryl Morris, Jumal Rolle.