PROTECTING THE FRANCHISE
Texans battling Bears for key free agent
After they allowed a league-high 65 sacks in 2018, the Houston Texans have been on a mission to upgrade their offensive line to protect their quarterback, Deshaun Watson. Starting with the acquisition of LT Laremy Tunsil and drafting Tytus Howard, the Texans' line took a step in the right direction as Houston gave up a total of 45 sacks during the 2019 season.
With 20 fewer sacks when compared to the previous season, there is still some work that needs to be done to ease Watson's chances from hitting the ground in 2020, and after missing out on their year-long pursuit Trent Williams, the Texans have shifted their focus to former New Orleans Saints guard, Larry Warford, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. If the Texans can find a way to land Warford, the addition of the Pro-Bowl guard has the potential to become Bill O'Brien's best acquisition of the summer. The Chicago bears are also interested in Warford's services according to a recent report.
Source: The #Saints have cut guard Larry Warford, who will be one of the top FAs available.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 8, 2020
In 2013, Warford began his career as a third-round pick for the Detroit Lions before signing a four-year, $34 million deal with the Saints in 2017. In New Orleans, the 6-foot-3, 317-pound prodigy out of Kentucky, started all 44 regular-season games at right guard and became a three-time Pro Bowler. Despite playing a big part in their success over the past three seasons, the Saints released the guard on Friday to free up $7 million in salary-cap space. He specializes in pass protection and has allowed only seven sacks during this three-year tenure in New Orleans, per PFF.
Larry Warford's Overall Grade = 73.1— PFF (@PFF) May 8, 2020
He ranked 11th among all Guards in 2019 pic.twitter.com/k4Q1J0Cwaq
Should the Texans lure Warford down I-10 West to sign in Houston, the potential signing may mark the end of the current starter, Zach Fulton, who is set to become a free agent following the 2021 NFL season.