Houston Texans make a splash, add another veteran pass rusher

TEXANS NEWS

Bills Jerry Hughes
The Texans are signing former Bills defender, Jerry Hughes. Photo via: Wiki Commons

According to Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson, the Houston Texans are signing former Bills edge rusher, Jerry Hughes.

Hughes is 33 years old and recorded 2 sacks and 7 QB hits in 2021 while playing in all 17 games. The Texans hired former Bills assistant defensive line coach, Jacques Cesaire, as their defensive line coach this offseason. It appears Nick Caserio is bringing in some players Cesaire was familiar with in Buffalo.

The Texans opted to address the secondary with their premium draft picks, so GM Nick Caserio is adding talent to the defensive line with free agents like Hughes. Just last week, the Texans agreed to terms with former Bills defensive lineman Mario Addison (7 sacks last season) to a 2-year contract and Houston also signed former Seahawks DE Rasheen Green (6.5 sacks last season) to a 1-year deal after the NFL Draft.

The Texans appear to be putting together a veteran rotation of pass rushers to go along with Jonathan Greenard, who is going into his third season in the league.

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They clearly know how this game is played. Composite Getty Image.

The biggest news from Astros spring training in West Palm Beach has been the arrival of muscle-packed third baseman Alex Bregman, who’s in the final year of his contract with free agency looming.

Facing a battalion of microphones, Bregman has been saying all the right things – all the right things that Astros fans are happy to hear.

“I feel like I’ve never been in better shape in my life.”

“I expect to have the best season I’ve ever had.”

“I absolutely love every single second here. Being able to put on this jersey is an absolute honor and a dream come true for me as a kid. When it comes to the contract, I just let Scott do that.”

"Scott" is Bregman’s cold-blooded agent Scott Boras who is known for taking his clients to free agency and playing hardball with owners. Bregman, who will be 30 at the end of the season, is expected to draw offers perhaps as rich as $250 million over seven or eight years.

When I watched Bregman talk about his love for Houston and how he’d love to stay an Astro, I was half looking for an earpiece like the Impractical Jokers wear, with Boras whispering to Bregman what to say.

At the same time, but not the same place, Astros general manager Dana Brown was gushing over the Astros third sacker.

“He’s locked in. He is a special talent.”

“I’m expecting he’s going to have a really good season. I’m excited.”

“He has the heartbeat of a champion.”

The way Bregman and Brown are talking … I’ve heard less flirty prom invitations.

Now cue the scary music from horror movies. When Bregman was asked, have the Astros approached you with any offer of an extension, he answered a simple “no.”

When pressed for a timetable on a Bregman extension, Brown admitted, “at some point we’ll put together an offer. But right now we’re not engaged in an offer.”

In other words, both sides are talking. But not to each other.

Spring training is in full swing. Often players say if they don’t have an extension by the start of the season, they’ll shut down contract talks. They don’t want to think about a contract when they’re in the batter’s box and the games count. We don’t know if that is Bregman’s position, but it’s Boras’ modus operandi. It’s looking more and more like hello free agent Alex Bregman.

If Bregman is looking for a long-term deal at $200 million-plus, that’s more than Astros have ever offered a player. It could be too costly for owner Jim Crane’s blood.

Where do you stand on the Astros-Bregman dilemma? If you were Jim Crane, what would you do?

Break the bank and pay the man? After all, Bregman is a key piece of the Astros lineup. He’s been a dependable, hard-nosed player, a bit of a lovable wise ass and a huge part of the Astros’ dynastic run since 2017. Last year Bregman played 161 games, batted .262 with 25 homers, 98 RBI and 103 runs scored. He was a Gold Glove finalist at third base. He’s well liked in the clubhouse and adored by Astros fans. He has his own line of condiments.

Or let Bregman walk and save the money to make a run at keeping Kyle Tucker? As old school sports writers would say, you can look it up. In 2019, his career year so far, he batted .296, belted 41 homers, drove in 112 runs and led the league with 119 walks. He finished second in MVP voting behind Mike Trout. He hasn’t made an All-Star Game since then. His numbers, while not in free fall, have dwindled the past four years. He still is an above average player, though. Some team looking to go deep in the postseason will offer him big bucks at season’s end.

If it were up to you, would that team be the Astros?

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