THE PALLILOG

Here's what the trade market could look like for the Texans

Trading J.J. Watt has to be on the table. Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

If the Texans upset the Packers Sunday (hey, they're only three and a half point underdogs) it's not utterly ludicrous for their football people to cling to a sliver of hope about climbing into the AFC playoff race. Ludicrous maybe, but not utterly ludicrous. A loss that drops them to 1-6…

The NFL trade deadline is a week from Tuesday. The Texans' brain trust (stifle the laughter) has to be exploring trade possibilities for the few players they have with meaningful trade value. Wide receiver Will Fuller is an unrestricted free agent after the season. There is zero chance they use the franchise tag on him. If there is a third round pick to be had for Fuller, you make the deal. They'd also add more than five million dollars in salary cap space. If more than anything else in the world Will Fuller wants to be a Texan going forward (yeah right) they could resign him as a free agent having gotten a third round pick for a loaner. Losing Fuller in free agency would mean at the most the Texans would get a third round compensatory pick, in 2022. If they can move wideout Kenny Stills for anything at all, it's about four million dollars off the books that can be used in the offseason.

The big food for thought Texans' trade piece is J.J. Watt. He's still good though obviously not the guy he was when winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. If the Texans' organization is absolutely unwilling to trade Watt because of fear of any fan relations hit, the Texans' organization gives another example as to why it has never come remotely close to playing in a Super Bowl. Watt's contract next season calls for 17 and a half million dollars when he'll be 32 years old. If any team offers a first round pick for Watt the Texans basically would be stupid to pass. A second rounder? Probably should take that if the best offer.

The Texans' thus far sub-pathetic run defense does not fall in Watt's lap, but he is not the routine game wrecker he once was when it seemed at least two or three times per game he'd be tackling a ballcarrier about when he took the handoff. Through six games the Texans are yielding a preposterously awful five-point-four yards per carry. Super Bowl LV will be played in February. For now at least. In the 54 prior seasons of the Super Bowl era exactly ZERO defenses have finished a season giving up five-point-four yards per carry or more.

Former Astros GM speaks out

From his sit down with KPRC sports reporter Vanessa Richardson that aired earlier this week, we learned how former Astros' General Manager Jeff Luhnow has been spending at least part of his time since Major League Baseball suspended him and then Jim Crane fired him. Taking spin classes. If Luhnow truly never knew anything about the Astros' cheating scheme (seems doubtful), then he was negligently and shockingly oblivious. It happened on his watch and accountability of course should have included him. He failed to acknowledge that. Whether Crane scapegoated him is another topic, but it's pretty clear Luhnow won't be sending a holiday gift Crane's way.

Rumor has it there's a World Series going on. Relatively few in Houston are watching after they couldn't quite cap their comeback against the Rays to reach a third Fall Classic in four years. The Dodgers are in their third in four years so if they win it they go past the Astros as the top franchise over that span. Five days after the World Series ends George Springer, Michael Brantley, and all other free agents can sign with the team of their choosing.

If the Astros are unwilling to go beyond four years in the 25 million dollars per season range, Springer is probably a goner. He might be anyway. Though Springer is 31 years old his market will be robust. The Connecticut native could draw interest from the Red Sox, Mets, and yes the Yankees. The Nationals, Cardinals, and Giants would all make sensible suitors. The White Sox could be interested and interesting, perhaps more so if A.J. Hinch gets their managerial gig. The Texas Rangers' offense is a joke that could use a big addition for their first season with fans in their new ballpark (with the bonus for them of weakening the Astros), I just doubt Springer would go to a bad team.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Take your pick: re-sign Springer if you know that means Carlos Correa is gone after next season, or let George go if know it means Correa re-ups.

2. Not one "Oooh!" college football matchup on the schedule this week.

3. Greatest sports Georges: Bronze- Best Silver-Mikan Gold-Brett

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

The Houston Texans will be among as many as 9 NFL teams in the off-season looking to fill their head coaching vacancy. Where does that opportunity rank among those 9? Make sure you watch the video above as we break it all down.

Presented by Fitz Roofing.

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