Every-Thing Sports

3 reasons the Texans won't sign problematic players

Texans JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson
Composite photo by Jack Brame

The Texans are in a unique position. They're coming off a playoff appearance, had/have a fair amount of cap space, need to use said cap space to resign their star quarterback, have very little draft capital to bring in cheap labor, and traded their quarterback's best offensive weapon. Maybe unique wasn't the word to use. Unenviable. Difficult. Predicament. Pickle. Maybe one of those better describes their state of affairs at the moment. While they could use an infusion of talent, I'll have to disagree with Coty Davis' article last week about them signing Josh Gordon.

Don't get me wrong. I know it may seem as if I'm being pessimistic, but it's hard to remain hopeful given the way Bill O'Brien has shaped this franchise in his tenure. Sure, he may be a mad scientist who finally figures out his magic potion. He could also be a tinfoil hat wearing buffoon who ruins a franchise. One thing that's clear in his approach: O'Brien will get rid of any player he perceives as a distraction despite what talent they may possess. Jadeveon Clowney: gone. DeAndre Hopkins: bye bye.

O'Brien is looking for guys that'll toe the company line. Anything outside that is seen as detrimental to the progress he's trying to make. Sure, guys like Kenny Stills could be viewed as someone outside that spectrum given his stance on kneeling for the national anthem, but it actually goes along with O'Brien's recent stance of supporting his players' ability to express themselves. The organization's recent stance on social justice issues doesn't mean they're willing to take chances.


Historically, the Texans have been an organization that has steered clear of guys who've been deemed not "Texan-Worthy." You have something questionable in your background? You're probably off their radar. They've passed on guys in both the draft and free agency based on character concerns. I simply don't see them shifting course all of a sudden.

O'Brien wants his kind of guys

As previously stated, O'Brien has gotten rid of extremely talented guys seemingly based off personal bias at worst, or a foolish professional bias at best. When Clowney nets loose cigarettes and Hopkins fetches leftovers from a buffet, you know it was more personal than personnel. O'Brien wouldn't trade a set of headaches for another headache. He may be crazy, but he's not that stupid.


Part of the reason this organization has never signed guys with a little stain on them is the way they look. A guy who's socially conscious nowadays is much more acceptable than a multiple drug suspension guy. While our society may be forgiving, there's always a stigma attached to certain types of people. As a guy who's been in the cleaning industry for almost two decades now, I think I know a bit about what stains will and won't clean up. Multiple drug offenses/suspensions is like having a pet urine stain on handmade wool antique rug that was vegetable dyed. Google it.

Could a player like Josh Gordon help the Texans? Of course he could. Would the Texans ever sign a guy like Gordon? Highly unlikely. I would love to see Gordon in a Texans jersey whenever the NFL comes back, but it's about as likely as getting the Hatfields and McCoys together for a family dinner. We don't always get what we want when it comes to sports. Gordon making his way back to the NFL for his hometown team would be a redemption story for the ages. Hollywood would be chomping at the bit to produce a movie like this. Unfortunately, movies don't turn out the way we want them to. Some don't even make it past the idea room. This one appears to have been lost on the cutting room floor.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Astros on the hunt. Composite Getty Image.

With the Astros' surge from 10 games out of first place to within two games of Seattle, catching and going past the Mariners has naturally become the top objective. It's no given to happen but it's right there. In the final series ahead of the All-Star break, while the Mariners are in the midst of four games with the lowly Angels, the last two World Series champions renew (un)pleasantries at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros enter the weekend five games ahead of the Rangers. They lead the season series with the reigning champs four wins to three. While the Astros can't quite finish off the Arlingtonians by sweeping them in this three game set, shoving them eight games back (even further back of Seattle and the current Wild Card teams) and clinching the tiebreaker would seem close to a death blow. Taking two out of three would be fine for the Astros. If the Rangers win the series, they are clearly still in the American League West and Wild Card races coming out of the All-Star break.

Last year the Rangers had the best offense in the AL. So far in 2024 they rank a mediocre eighth in runs per game. Nathaniel Lowe is the lone Ranger (get it?!?) regular playing as well as he did last season. Corey Seager has been fine but not at the MVP runner-up level of last year. Marcus Semien is notably down, as is 2023 ALCS Astros-obliterater Adolis Garcia. Stud 2023 rookie Josh Jung has been out with a broken wrist since ex-Astro Phil Maton hit him with a pitch in the fourth game of this season, though fill-in third baseman Josh Smith has been the Rangers' best player. 21-year-old late season phenom Evan Carter largely stunk the first two months this season and has been out since late May with a back injury. Repeating is hard, never harder than it is now. Hence no Major League Baseball has done it since the Yankees won three straight World Series 1998-2000.

Chasing down the Division at a crazy clip

From the abyss of their 7-19 start, the Astros sweep over the Marlins clinched a winning record at the break with them at 49-44. Heading into the Texas matchup the Astros have won at a .627 clip since they were 7-19. A full season of .627 ball wins 101 games. If the Astros win at a .627 rate the rest of the way they'll finish with 92 wins, almost certainly enough to secure a postseason slot and likely enough to win the West. Expecting .627 the rest of the way is ambitious.

With it fairly clear that Lance McCullers is highly unlikely to contribute anything after his latest recovery setback, and Luis Garcia a major question mark, what Justin Verlander has left in 2024 grows more important. With the way the Astros often dissemble or poorly forecast when discussing injuries, for all we know Verlander could be cooked. Inside three weeks to the trade deadline, General Manager Dana Brown can't be thinking a back end of the rotation comprised of Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss should be good enough. The Astros have 66 games to play after the All-Star break, including separate stretches with games on 18 and 16 consecutive days.

All-Star MIAs

Viewership for Tuesday's All-Star game at Globe Life Field in Arlington will be pretty, pretty, pretty low in Houston. One, All-Star Game ratings are pitiful every year compared to where they used to be. Two, the Astros could be down to zero representatives at Tuesday's showcase. Kyle Tucker was rightfully named a reserve but had no shot at playing as he continues the loooong recovery from a bone bruise (or worse) suffered June 3. Being named an All-Star for a ninth time was enough for Jose Altuve. He opts out of spending unnecessary time in Texas Rangers territory citing a sore wrist. This despite Altuve playing four games in a row since sitting out the day after he was plunked and highly likely to play in all three games versus the Rangers this weekend. Yordan Alvarez exiting Wednesday's rout of the Marlins with hip discomfort and then missing Thursday's game seem clear reasons for him to skip, though he has indicated thus far he intends to take part. Yordan is the most essential lineup component to the Astros' hopes of making an eighth straight playoff appearance.

Ronel Blanco should have made the American League squad on performance, but pretty obviously his 10 game illegal substance use suspension was held against him. As it works out, Blanco will pitch Sunday in the last game before the break which would render him unavailable for the All-Star Game anyway. Blanco is eligible to pitch, but given the career high-shattering innings workload Blanco is headed for, no way the Astros want him on the mound Tuesday. Just last year the Astros kept Framber Valdez from pitching in the game.

While waiting, and waiting, and waiting on Tucker's return, the Astros have also been waiting on Chas McCormick to get back to something even faintly resembling the hitter he was last year. McCormick routinely looks lost at the plate. He has four hits (all singles) in his last 32 at bats with his season OPS pitiful at .572. During the break the Astros should seriously weigh sending McCormick to AAA Sugar Land and giving Pedro Leon a try in a job share with Joey Loperfido.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome