On the Texans

Barry Laminack: For Bill O'Brien, it is win or else

It's time for Bill O'Brien to win. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The 2018 NFL season should be make or break for Bill O’Brien. He has one year left on his contract with the Houston Texans, and now that Rick Smith will no longer be the GM, O’Brien is pretty much out of excuses. And while some people would probably prefer not to see O’Brien back again next year,  I think you have to give him one more year.

The 2017 season was an injury plagued disaster. By now you know about the injuries to Watt, Mercilus, and Watson. But don’t forget that both tight ends, Foreman, and Fuller all missed significant time.

Oh, and there was the whole Cushing suspension fiasco.

When you think about it, 4-12 was about all that could be expected.

(Speaking of 4-12, kind of makes 9-7 and a playoff game look a lot better now, doesn’t it?)

Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t think O’Brien is a great coach by any stretch of the imagination, but I think he’s a good coach – at least better than some are willing to give him credit for being – and I think there would be plenty of teams that would snatch him up if the Texans don’t want him. But make no mistake, he is going to have to do something special to earn a new contract.

In other words, it’s playoff or bust.

I was talking with Jerome Solomon on The Usual Suspects yesterday and we discussed how much time O’Brien should be given next season. Assuming they avoid another injury filled season like 2017, I say you give him the entire year. If he misses the playoffs with a healthy squad, then you don’t bring him back.

One thing that plays in the Texans favor however is that when it comes to making the decision – should it be necessary to fire O’Brien mid season – they have the very capable Romeo Crennel on staff who can step in and finish out the season.

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There's nothing left to do, but wait. Composite image by Jack Brame.

For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, Major League Baseball has entered into a lockout in which team officials and players cannot communicate with each other until both sides are “satisfied” and have come to an agreement on labor negotiations.

Before December 1st, MLB free agents were being signed left and right with teams like the Rangers spending over half a billion dollars on players that include Kole Calhoun, Jon Grey, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.

Other teams that opened their wallets this offseason were the Mariners, Mets and Tigers.

Baseball free agency came to a screeching halt once the December 1st MLB CBA ended. As of right now, players can't sign with any team until the lockout has concluded.

Now that Major League Baseball has entered this work stoppage, the question on everyone’s mind is what does this mean for the sport going forward?

The short answer is no one knows. This process will take some time and most owners have a wait and see approach in regard to this stoppage. Labor negations can be a long, meticulous process that could drag out for weeks, if not months.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred seemed optimistic that a deal should get done between both the owners and the MLB Player’s Association sometime before the 2022 regular season starts.

"We believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season," Manfred wrote in a letter to fans. "We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the players' association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive."

That being said, it may be some time before any deal is made between either side, thus leaving certain free agents in a temporary limbo like Carlos Correa.

The 27-year-old shortstop looked to be the most coveted player available this offseason and would earn a major payday. Just like his fellow shortstops, Correa was looking to earn a deal similar to that of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Francisco Lindor. All of whom signed deals or extension’s of at least 10-year $300 million dollars or higher.

The aforementioned Seager signed a 10-year deal worth $325 million with the Texas Rangers two days before the current CBA ended. Correa was looking to earn a deal similar to this, and the Rangers were one of the team’s that looked to obtain the All-Star shortstop.

Another club that had been linked to Correa was the Tigers, but they just signed free agent short stop Javier Baez to a six-year $140 million contract.

With both Texas and Detroit out of the Correa sweepstakes presumably, where would the 27-year-old land?

We won’t know for some time due to the ongoing lockout negotiations, but as soon as there’s an agreement, Correa will sign somewhere and get his money.

According to Bleacher Report, the Gold Glove winning shortstop has drawn interest from the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.

All of these clubs are big market teams who are not afraid to spend large sums of money in free agency.

As much as Astros fans would hate to see their beloved shortstop don Yankee pinstripes or wear Dodgers Blue, it seems to be more of a reality Correa won’t be wearing an Astros uniform next season.

Is it possible for Houston to keep Carlos Correa?

Sure, if James Click and the Astros’ front office do something they have never done before and give him an extension of more than $300 million.

The largest contract Houston has ever given out was a 5-year $151 million extension to Jose Altuve.

If they wish to keep Correa, the Astros would have to give him at least a deal similar to what Seager just received in Texas, therefore doubling their largest contract ever given out.

It is not out of the realm of possibilities to believe Houston could accomplish this feat, but it seems unlikely.

A lockout might prolong Correa’s free agency, but once clubs are able to sign again, the All-Star shortstop could sign quicker than we think.

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