Driving home last night, I was listening to my good friend John Harris on "Texans All Access" on SportsRadio610. It was a rare show where John was able to take some phone calls from listeners, and on the eve of the day on which free agents can begin officially signing with other teams, the anxiety of some Texan fans/callers was palpable.
There were at least two or three calls in which listeners, presumably Texan fans, were irate over the seeming lack of activity Texans' general manager Brian Gaine was generating on the free agent market. Keep in mind, the Texans had reportedly agreed to terms with three free agents yesterday, but their names weren't "Andrew Norwell" or "Malcolm Butler," both of whom found non-Texan homes in the AFC South, nor were they named "Nate Solder," the left tackle that is probably the Texans' make-or-break player for this free agency season.
Never mind that Gaine's career as the team's GM was essentially about 24 hours old — the offseason begins with free agency, really — but there were still plenty of names out there for the Texans to come away with a really solid class of free agents. But people want news, and they want it now! A bunch of Veruca Salts, you impatient fans....
Anyway, as we wait to see which names are added to this group, here is the group, so far:
ZACH FULTON, G/C
Fulton was a sixth round pick in the 2014 draft (193rd overall, 12 picks after the legendary Alfred Blue!) who blossomed into a regular starter for the majority (46 starts overall, 12 in 2017) of his four year run with the Chiefs. At age 26, Fulton is entering what should be his prime years, and he is a versatile performer, having played all three interior line positions at some point in his Chiefs career. In 2017, he played a ton of center after the Chiefs lost Mitch Morse for the season, something that cannot be underestimated, given Nick Martin's ankle injuries in each of his first two seasons. Fulton is durable, having played in 63 of a possible 64 games asa Chief, and should slide in at left guard immediately. The contract is rumored to be worth around $7 million per year.
AARON COLVIN, CB
As of right now, Colvin is the headliner in the Texans' free agent class, agreeing to a four year, $34 million deal with a reported $18 million guaranteed. Another 2014 draft choice, Colvin was a fourth rounder who injured himself at the Senior Bowl that tear, others he would have gone higher. In Jacksonville, he was relegated to slot cornerback, with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, two of the top corners in the game, patrolling the outside for the Jags. In that role, Colvin thrived, as you can see both statistically...
Since 2014, Aaron Colvin ranks first in coverage snaps per TD allowed pic.twitter.com/7aQIlToVoF— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 4, 2018
... and aesthetically....
Colvin is also feisty, and not afraid to beef with his more famous teammates....
We know O'Brien loves feisty...
Easy to see how they would connect!
It remains to be seen how Romeo Crennel uses Colvin, in the slot or on the outside. Some of that may depend on who else the Texans bring in at the position, as Buffalo free agent CB E.J. Gaines is rumored to have the Texans on his short list. In an ideal scenario, Gaines signs with the Texans and, perhaps, Kareem Jackson can slide over to safety, with Colvin playing the slot, with Gaines and (a hopefully rejuvenated) Kevin Johnson on the outside. We shall see.
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SEANTREL HENDERSON, OT
Henderson will be an interesting signing, as his reported one year, $4 million deal essentially makes him a depth body on the offensive line. However, digging a little bit deeper on Henderson gives indications that this could be a nice "buy low" situation for the Texans. First, Henderson was named the top player in the country coming out of Cretin-Durham high school in Minnesota back in 2009, and at the University of Miami, he showed enough to get continual all-conference level recognition at various times. However, his off the field problems, named marijuana, plagued him in college and drove his draft stock down to the seventh round in 2014. However, early in his NFL career, Henderson was quite capable, starting all 16 games for the Bills as a rookie, and earning the highest performance-based bonus check in the league for 2014. However, in 2015, Henderson was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, and in 2016, he was hit with separate four game and ten game suspensions for, you guessed it, marijuana. Henderson's explanation was that he smoked marijuana to help ease his Crohn's Disease pain. 2017 saw Henderson play in just seven games, but Gaine was part of Buffalo's front office in 2017, presumably giving him a proper perspective on Henderson's potential. This signing really only has upside, given the price tag.
So as the sun was setting last night, here is the list of the top targets still seeking contracts...
Top 12 FAs w/o Announced Deals.. FA starts Tomorrow..— Chad Forbes (@NFLDraftBites) March 14, 2018
1- Ndamukong Suh
2- Nate Solder
3- Sheldon Richardson
4- Justin Pugh
5- Ryan Jensen
6- EJ Gaines
7- Nigel Bradham
8- Trent Murphy
9- Patrick Robinson
10- Tre Boston
11- Tyler Eifert
12- Denico Autry
HM: McCarron (Market?)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.