The Z Report
Lance Zierlein: Texans effective use of free agency means patching up wounded roster
Most every NFL team would agree that the construction of winning team must begin from the ground up. That obviously means that drafting and developing your own talents is essential, not just for longer-term windows of success, but for financial feasibility. Teams need to hit on their early round draft picks since those players typically are the most high impact players, but success in the middle and late round picks is essential because they are less expensive and create needed financial freedom for tweaking the team through free agency.
Band-Aids and peroxide
To be clear, free agency absolutely has value, but it should never be used to build the core of a team. Organizations who try to buy their way into blue chip talents ultimately pay a premium price for a player who can have a long-term, negative financial impact on a roster if he busts. If you bust on a first round pick, it doesn’t prevent the team from continuing to make necessary moves to the roster. Bust on a tier one free agent and you pay the iron price (well maybe not the “iron price” if you’ve seen Game of Thrones).
The Houston Texans roster is like a wound that is bleeding all over the kitchen. They haven’t hit an artery, but their offensive line and secondary is definitely getting figurative blood all over the kitchen floor. Texans general manager Brian Gaine is going to utilize free agency for what it should be used for… band-aids and peroxide. Band-aids will stop the bleeding, but the peroxide can help get you better.
Aaron Colvin, CB, Jacksonville (Peroxide): Colvin is solid but hardly spectacular at cornerback. He’s got good size and might be able to play outside in taking over Johnathan Joseph’s spot. There is also a chance that he could play in the slot which would hasten Kareem Jackson’s move to safety (or departure from roster). Colvin will get a four year deal and will be a starter, but the Texans will still need to target a cornerback in the draft.
Seantrel Henderson, OT, Buffalo (Band-Aid): Henderson is a big, powerful tackle with long arms and a lack of starts over the last couple of years. Henderson has missed time due to Crohn’s disease and a 10-game game suspension for a second violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Henderson is no lock to become a starter this year, but he has a decent shot at it. With a one-year deal, Henderson is definitely a stop-gap.
Zach Fulton, OG/OC, Kansas City (Peroxide): Fulton has experience as a guard and center but might be coming to the Texans as a starting center which would likely mean Nick Martin would be forced to move to the guard spot. While Fulton and Martin both have experience at guard and center (Martin played some guard at Notre Dame), the Texans may find that the optimal combination is with Fulton at guard and Martin at center. Fulton isn’t going to set the world on fire but he should become a core member of a re-tooled offensive line.