Sean Pendergast

Four Thoughts on the Houston Texans Bringing Back Jacob Martin

Jacob Martin (54) is back with the Houston Texans.
Jacob Martin (54) is back with the Houston Texans. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The Houston Texans are entering the OTA ("organized team activities," for those unfamiliar with the acronym) phase of the offseason, with the roster fairly solidified as they head to training camp in a couple months. There will still be additional tweaks here and there, and one of those tweaks brought a familiar face back to town on Friday.

Texan fans, welcome back edge rusher Jacob Martin, who was with the team from 2019 through 2021, before signing a three year contract with the New York Jets. That Martin is coming back here on a one year deal as a street free agent tells you how his THREE year deal (that he signed 13 months ago) went in New York.

Okay, a few thoughts here on Martin's return:

If you're having a little "Bill O'Brien GM Era" PTSD, it's understandable
Just to refresh, Martin's arrival the first time he came to Houston was as a throw-in in the Jadeveon Clowney trade executed by former GM Bill O'Brien on what I like to call "Swap Meet Saturday, 2019." That was the day that O'Brien gutted two drafts for Laremy Tunsil, dumped Clowney for a third round pick and spare parts, and made a few other low level trades to attempt to refortify the roster. (To be fair, Martinas Rankin for Carlos Hyde was a solid deal, Bill.) Anyway, if the mere mention of Martin's name gave you an ill feeling, that's probably why.

The big question — does Jacob Martin make the team?
The significance of this question is not in the actual answer (which is "maybe"), it's that it is being asked in the first place. There was a time, not all that long ago, when we were wondering if Jacob Martin would lead the Texans in sacks. That was in 2021, or as masochists like to call it, the David Culley Era. That we are wondering if Martin, a somewhat capable edge rusher who doesn't really excel at anything else, even makes the team shows that the roster has indeed become deeper. For what it's worth, Martin is clearly behind Will Anderson, Jerry Hughes, and Jon Greenard in the rotation. If rookie Dylan Horton shows any inkling that he is getting it, he's ahead of Martin, too. Martin is probably competing with Chase Winovich for one of the final spots on the 53-man roster.

Martin is calling this the return of the ROCK BOYZ, and that is bad
Here was a screen grab from Martin's Instagram story on Friday:
If you recall, "Rock Boyz" was the self-glossed gimmick that some of the linebackers gave themselves in 2019 and 2020. On the rare occasion that one of them would bring a quarterback to the ground, they would all "rock out" with air guitars. Put bluntly, it was really, really embarrassing. (Somehow, they picked Deshaun Watson into it, as well.) This was also at a time where the defensive linemen called themselves "The Lunch Pail Crew" (they were unable to suck J.J. Watt into their vortex of dorkiness), and the inside linebackers were showing up for games in costumes. That era needed to end. Jacob, leave the air guitar at home.

Jacob Martin is another free agency cautionary tale
Not that this is the Texans' problem, but Martin's deal in New York last season is yet another cautionary tale in the minefield that is NFL free agency. Not that three years, $13.5 million with $6 million guaranteed is a crippling deal if it doesn't work out, but Martin was a failure from jump after getting paid. In eight games with the Jets, Martin had 1.5 sacks, and was shipped to Denver at the trade deadline for a swap of Day 3 picks in the draft. Here's hoping for better results in Houston for Jacob Martin.

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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 the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast