Three days of NFL free agency in the books, and here is your Houston Texans scorecard:
* Two players cut * Five players left in free agency * One cockblocking on a veteran quarterback * Zero new players acquired * One player re-signed * A growing abyss between the AFC (which includes the Texans) and the Denver Broncos
Let's briefly dig into each of these, shall we?
TEXANS GARAGE SALE The news of Earl Mitchell's signing with the Miami Dolphins (four years, $16 million, $9 million guaranteed) actually came down on Tuesday and became official on Wednesday. Mitchell is immediately inserted into a defense in Miami that fits his size and skill set better than the Texans' defense, if for no other reason than Romeo Crennel's scheme is the worst possible fit for Mitchell, who is not morbidly obese enough to play nose tackle in Crennel's version of the 3-4.
From there, the cherry picking off of the Texans roster resembled the first hour of a suburban garage sale, with teams around the league nabbing the roster equivalents of broken furniture, discarded toys and used clothing.
In the spirit of every Texans defensive-lineman-not-named-J.J.-Watt looking for work elsewhere, Terrell McClain, who wasn't made a tender offer on Tuesday, spent less than one day in unrestricted free agency, agreeing to a three-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. Inside linebacker Joe Mays, who the Texans signed off the street before the start of last season and who started 13 games in 2013, signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Next, special teams maniac and crowd favorite Bryan Braman signed a two-year, $3.15 million ($1 million guaranteed) with the Philadelphia Eagles, further solidifying the Texans' status as the Eagles' D League team (Barwin, Ryans, Casey, Donnie Jones, Carmichael, Maehl).
Finally, inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton inked a one-year deal with the Redskins that could reach $2 million. In the six or seven games that he would normally suit up for, Sharpton will no doubt be missed. Hopefully, the Texans recognize Sharpton when the Redskins come to Reliant next season by hanging an ACE bandage with number 51 from the rafters.
JOSH MCCOWN LOVES LOVIE In the nebulous search for a veteran possible starter/possible caretaker/certainly mediocre quarterback, go ahead and cross Josh McCown off of the Texans' list. The former Chicago Bear, who is coming off easily the best season of his nondescript career, never made it to Houston for his scheduled visit as new Bucs head coach Lovie Smith made sure McCown didn't leave Tampa Bay without his signature at the bottom of a contract (two years, $10 million). With every McCown-like creature that falls off the board, the chances of Matt Schaub remaining a Texan in 2014 increase by .033 percent. Granted, that means it will top out at like 3 percent, but still, anything greater than zero is frightening.
TEXANS BREAK THE SEAL As the sun rose Thursday morning, there was still one team remaining that had not spent any money during the free agency period on any players, new or their own -- yes, your Houston Texans! It reminded me of the first scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when all of the kids in households with money were frolicking gluttonously in the candy store while poor Charlie sat outside with his face pressed against the window:
The Texans .... pic.twitter.com/dBgUxiuh0K
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) March 13, 2014
Finally, Thursday around lunchtime came news that the Texans' tight end situation (which was on the verge of peril with the release of Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham hitting free agency) was stabilized with Graham's signing a three-year, $11.25 million deal. It wasn't a sexy signing, and in the garage-sale analogy it was probably the equivalent of grabbing an old computer monitor you had up for sale and deciding not to sell it.
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But hey, it's something, right?
BRONCOS SHOP HIGH-RENT DISTRICT Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware for a combined $60 million in guaranteed money. Yeah, starting in like three years the Broncos are going to be a hot salary-cap mess, but damn, the rest of the Peyton Manning Era should be fun for the citizens of Colorado.
This and legal weed? It's just not fair, I tells ya!