Texans Free Agency: Day One

Jermaine Every: Texans frugally fill holes on roster

Seantrel Henderson said goodbye to the Bills and hello to the Texans. Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Houston Texans had approximately $60 million dollars in salary cap space to spend this offseason. The fact that they’re extremely limited on draft picks and have a ton of holes to fill, it makes free agent signings that much more critical to putting a winner on the field every Sunday. They need to be more Jose Altuve when signing guys as opposed to Brian McCann. With Day One of the free agent signing period nearing it’s end, here’s a look at the Texans’ haul so far:

Offensive Guard Senio Kelemete

I wrote about this move mid-February and guesstimated a deal averaging $2.5-3.5 million per. They signed him to a three-year deal worth $12 million dollars, with $5.5 million guaranteed. Kelemete was versatile as a backup for the New Orleans Saints. At 27 years old entering his sixth season, this was a very low-risk, high-reward signing that should pan out for the Texans. Literally anything would’ve been better than Xavier Su’a-Filo! I expect Kelemete to step in and start from day one at guard, but he’s also had some experience playing tackle.

Offensive Guard Zach Fulton

While it’s being widely reported, this signing isn’t official as of yet, but could soon be. But I find it hard to believe that another team will swoop in and sign Fulton to a better deal than the reported $7.5 million dollar per year average the Texans are reportedly offering. Fulton performed well as a Kansas City Chief in four seasons. At 27 years old, Fulton has room to grow and improve much like Kelemete. This signing, along with Kelemete, shored up the guard position.

Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson

Henderson was once the No. 1 high school football recruit in the country when he committed to the University of Miami out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s 26 years old entering his fifth season. Henderson was drafted in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills because he admitted to using marijuana to help cope with the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. G.M. Brian Gaine knows Henderson from his time in Buffalo, so I’m confident he wouldn’t have signed Henderson had he felt this would be an issue. The one year deal worth up to $4 million dollars shows it’s more of a “prove it” deal, than a vote of confidence long-term deal. Again, anything would’ve been better than Chris Clark.

Cornerback Aaron Colvin

Cornerback was another position of need for the Texans. Perhaps it was exacerbated by the Jacksonville Jaguars signing former Texan A.J. Bouye last offseason, so they returned the favor by signing former Jag Colvin…? Definitely not an even exchange of talent, but an improvement in a position of need nonetheless. Colvin is 26 years old entering his fifth season, but has ZERO career interceptions! This isn’t indicative of his playmaking ability because he could’ve been asked to do some different things. However, it is alarming for the position. The four year deal is worth up to $34 million dollars with $18 million guaranteed. Colvin will be a welcomed addition if the pass rush is up to par.

The day isn’t over, neither is free agency. There are also the designated June 1 cuts which could provide more solid vets to hit the market. Another defensive back, offensive lineman, backup quarterback, linebacker depth, running back, and wide receiver are still needed. There’s more work to do for sure. But this was a good start to a disadvantaged offseason. Being frugal has its advantages, especially when you spend low and get a high return on an investment.

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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Coca-Cola 600 preview, picks

Watch out for Ryan Blaney this weekend. Photo via: Wiki Commons

It’s a Memorial Day Tradition; The NASCAR Cup Series heads home to Charlotte for the annual Coca-Cola 600. This race is probably the third most crucial race all season, behind the Daytona 500 and the Season Finale at Phoenix. Anyone who wins this race will always be able to say that they were Coke 600 champions. No race on the schedule is as long as this one, because of this there will be a 4th stage added to the race. Teams will be provided 13 sets of tires, and if the last few weeks have been any indication, they will need all the tires they can get. With the race being as long as it is, there is a good possibility this could be an attrition race and the driver that survives will more than likely win. The record for the most cautions in NASCAR history was 22 cautions, at this same race in 2005. Come Sunday, I bet we get close to that number.

What's the deal with all of these tire failures? Last week in the All-Star race we saw drivers like Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, and Erik Jones all crash out because they had a flat. There are many factors that could be contributing to this, for one the tires are much wider and the sidewalls are much more narrow. Because of this, the tire falloff is much shorter, so now instead of going maybe 40-45 laps on one set of tires, drivers can now only go 25-30 laps. The other major facet is that a lot of teams are running much lower air pressures to get the car to handle better by being closer to the ground. Goodyear and NASCAR usually require the right side tires to run around 51-52 PSI, the rule however isn’t enforced for the left side tires, so drivers will push the limits to see how much they can take out to make the car faster. The fact that we were seeing such tire ware on smooth surfaces like Texas and Atlanta is a clear sign that there is a problem, but not all of it is on Goodyear. Only time will tell how this develops on tracks with old abrasive surfaces, like when they go back to Bristol in the fall.

One of NASCAR’s newest teams, Trackhouse racing, made a bit of a surprise announcement this week. Starting at Watkins Glenn in August, the team will run a third car with a series of international drivers, starting with 2007 Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen. This is something that I think is interesting for the sport. I am a bit surprised that another team hasn’t already done this before. Having drivers like Kimi, one of the more world renowned racers in F1, can really bring a whole new audience to NASCAR. There have been rumors on whom some of the other drivers might be, from Daniel Riccardo to even Lewis Hamilton. There will be a lot of intrigue about who will be the next driver.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Ryan Blaney. After winning the All-Star race, it seems like Roger Penske and the rest of the Ford camp are picking up steam. Overall, Blaney tends to struggle at this track with an 18.8 average finish, but if last week is any indication of how his car will run on mile and halves like Charlotte, he will be a fierce contender for the win.

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