Sean Pendergast

Handicapping Houston Texans Odds on Re-Signing Their Own Free Agents

Tyrann Mathieu's leadership makes him a priority this offseason.
Tyrann Mathieu's leadership makes him a priority this offseason. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Beginning on March 11, at 11 a.m. Houston time, NFL teams can begin negotiating with the representation for free agents that are not their own, which means that other teams can, in plain English, begin putting their greasy mitts on YOUR guys. Now, in years past — years like, say, 2018 — the Texans didn't really have many free agents that were desirable to other teams.

2019's offseason is a little bit different, though, especially on the defensive side of the ball, where there is one super high ticket guy (Jadeveon Clowney, likely to be hit with the franchise tag), a few pricy wares (Kareem Jackson, Tyrann Mathieu), and a slew of Anthony Weaver's pet projects on the defensive line who are about to hit the market.

So, I've listed below the entire Texans free agency class, along with their ages (in parentheses), average annual contract value of their previous deal, and their free agency status (unrestricted, restricted, etc), along with some comments and my forecast on their being back with the team in 2019. So let's do this!

$8,500,000, UFA
Jackson picked a great time to have his best season as a pro, in a contract year, seeking his third contract in the NFL. Jackson finished 85th in the Pro Football Focus Top 101, and was one of the team's more valuable performers, due in large part to his versatility. I doubt the Texans will be able to bring back both Jackson and Mathieu. Sooooo......
Odds on Re-Signing: 35 percent

$7,000,000, UFA gut says it's going to be Mathieu, based on his age (four years younger than Jackson), and his unique brand of leadership of which Bill O'Brien and Mathieu's teammates are clearly big fans. I'd put it at about 5 to 10 percent that both are back, based on what their markets will be, and the Texans' depth at safety.
Odds on Re-Signing: 70 percent

$5,568,250, UFA
This one is fairly simple — I'd be shocked if Clowney hit the open market. He will be a Texan in 2019, out likely under the franchise tag for about $19 million,  but perhaps under a long-term deal.
Odds on Re-Signing: 98 percent (likely on franchise tag)

$2,250,000, UFA
Webster joined the Texans early in the 2018 season, off an Achilles tear from 2017. Two plays into his Texans career, he wound up on the injured reserve list with a quad injury. He came back late in the season, and one game in, got hurt again. I can't imagine the team even wanting to entertain banking on Webster at this point.
Odds on Re-Signing: 10 percent

$1,240,000, UFA
Angelo Blackson was a capable body along the defensive line, who ate up plenty of snaps. I can see him back on a similar deal to the one he just finished up, as interior line is probably an area the Texans will not splurge heavily on.
Odds on Re-Signing: 60 percent

$915,000, UFA
I think the team sees value in Webb's skillset — a special teams coverage guy, third string quarterback, and emergency wide receiver, all at the veterans minimum. At age 32, I doubt there's any team that's going to offer much more than that.
Odds on Re-Signing: 80 percent

$915,000, UFA
Basically, he is the healthy version of Kayvon Webster — a veteran CB that the Texans should have no designs on relying upon in 2019.
Odds on Re-Signing: 15 percent

$900,000, UFA
Peters has been a mainstay on special teams since arriving in 2015, so much so that he was voted one of the six team captains in 2018. I would guess he will be back in 2019.
Odds on Re-Signing: 85 percent

$880,000, UFA
I personally would like to see the Texans upgrade the backup quarterback position with someone who has some Watson-like traits (mobility, athleticism). I shudder to think about Weeden playing behind THIS offensive line. I'm guessing, though, O'Brien values Weeden's professionalism and familiarity with the vaunted "system" more than I do.
Odds on Re-Signing: 50 percent

$880,000, UFA
This has to be season where the Texans move on from Alfred Blue, right?...... RIGHT?!?
Odds on Re-Signing: 50 percent

$740,000, UFA
Basically, everything I said about Angelo Blackson above applies to Dunn.
Odds on Re-Signing: 60 percent

$705,000, UFA
A body on special teams and backup inside linebacker. He will likely be back as a body.
Odds on Re-Signing: 75 percent

$660,000, UFA
Lamm is a weird one. I thought he would have been cut two seasons ago, but here he was starting half the season last year, and playing kind of okay at right tackle (which is All Pro level compared to left tackle Julien Davenport). Could some team throw a few million at him for a year or two as a swing tackle? Maybe? I guess? Either way, I think the Texans may want to do some tearing down on the offensive line, and moving on from Lamm may be part of that.
Odds on Re-Signing: 25 percent

$592,622, UFA
Of the non-Watt and non-Clowney performers on the defensive line, Covington had the most productive 2019. I could see the team giving him a three-year deal for a couple million a year as the defensive end opposite Watt.
Odds on Re-Signing: 55 percent

$543,667, RFA
Heath was inactive for most of the season, so he will get a low tender offer, and probably be back in 2019 fighting for a job.
Odds on Re-Signing: 80 percent

$541,667, RFA
I'm really anxious to see what kind of tender offer the Texans put on Scarlett, who was their best special teamer and a valuable backup linebacker, even bumping inside when the injuries REALLY hit in midseason. He finished the season on injured reserve. O'Brien even cited him by name a few times, calling him a "fabric guy." He might make a nice wage this season.
Odds on Re-Signing: 95 percent

$541,667, RFA
Like Scarlett, Fairbairn is a restricted free agent, who should get a decent tender offer from the Texans, after showing range, consistency, and leading the NFL in scoring.
Odds on Re-Signing: 98 percent

$480,000, ERFA
Carter will be back as the lead return guy and Coutee Hamstring Insurance.
Odds on Re-Signing: 90 percent

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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