ON THE MOVE

Dez Bryant is a free agent; would he be a fit for the Texans?

Dez Bryant is a free agent; would he be a fit for the Texans?
Dez Bryant is on the move. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The relationship between the Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Dez Bryant finally soured and he was given his walking papers this afternoon. He is now available for anyone to sign. Immediately stories are being written with loads of speculation about where this former top tier receiver will land. A team I haven’t seen mentioned is the Houston Texans, for good reason. They are set at the number one position with DeAndre Hopkins and there are younger players who can develop in Houston for less money than Bryant will cost.

But let’s not assume it’s a non-starter. Despite not breaking the 1,000 yard mark since 2014 and coming up on 30 years of age; I believe he still has something left to offer. Being cut means that it’s unlikely he will find the same money he would have made this year ($12.5 million base salary and $4 million signing bonus). If the Texans give him a call and offer him a chance to make about half of that for only a year or two (think Tyrann Mathieu) then Deshaun Watson will have one of the best 1-2 receiving tandems in the league.

They still have a little over $32 million in cap space available, and he’s the kind of player that moves the needle. It’s not a stretch to think Brian Gaine stopped his big free agency push after only about two weeks because he was waiting to see who became available after offseason programs and the draft. Well, programs are starting and this is the first big domino to fall.

In six and a half games last year Watson threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns. He had Hopkins as the clear number one and Will Fuller made an impact in the red zone, but behind that there were players that could easily be forgotten. Adding Dez Bryant to play opposite Hopkins and moving Fuller into the slot is like a dream come true for a head coach and young quarterback.

If they aren’t going to add more talent to the offensive line, maybe adding another player who can get open quickly will keep the ball moving. The aforementioned Mathieu has already gone to Twitter telling Dez “Come to Houston bro…”

Maybe while the Texans get back on their feet after a disastrous 2017 season, it will be short term veterans that bridge the gap for Houston’s new GM.

 

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Who holds the power in Houston? Composite Getty Image.

It should come as no surprise that after a slow start to the season, fans and media are starting to voice concerns about the organization's leadership and direction. The latest evidence of this involved Astros adviser Reggie Jackson and the comments he made on Jon Heyman's podcast, The Show.

Jackson discussed the Astros reported interest in starting pitcher Blake Snell. He said that ultimately, Snell was looking for a deal the Astros weren't comfortable with in terms of money and structure of the contract.

Which is interesting considering the Astros were okay with paying 5-years, $95 million for closer Josh Hader, but not willing to pay Snell 2-years, $62 million. We believe the opt-outs in Snell's contract were a dealbreaker for Houston. And of course the money played a role.

However, the Astros passing on Snell is not the intriguing part of the story. It was Jackson talking about the club's power structure in the front office and how they go about making decisions.

“Being fiscally responsible is what kicked us out of the Snell deal… That's too much for him… Between the 4 or 5 people who make decisions with the Astros, we don't play that game,” said Jackson.

Based on Jackson's comments in the interview, the decision makers are Jim Crane, Dana Brown, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Reggie. But not necessarily in that order. He also mentioned that they had conversations with manager Joe Espada and his staff, plus some input from the analytics department.

These comments add to the concerns we've had about the front office since Crane moved on from GM James Click and operated without a general manager for several months. Which led to the disastrous signing of Jose Abreu and to a lesser extent Rafael Montero.

Which begs the question, are the Astros in a better spot now with their front office? Many blame Dana Brown for the state of the starting rotation. While there were some red flags this spring, anticipating injuries to Jose Urquidy, Justin Verlander, and Framber Valdez is asking a lot.

But only bringing in Hader to replace all the innings left behind by Hector Neris, Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman, and Ryne Stanek always felt risky.

Finally, what can the Astros due in the short-term to weather the storm while Framber and JV rehab from injury?

And is Hunter Brown the biggest liability in the rotation?

Be sure to watch the video above for the full in-depth discussion.

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