The disappointing 2017 regular season is finally over for the Houston Texans, who ended the year with a 4-12 record. Now that the season is in fact over, the Texans interim general manager will have to decide which upcoming free agents will stay with the team and which ones will be let go. With these players in mind, it is time for “Keep or Sweep: Texans Edition”.
Alfred Blue – Running Back: Keep
Alfred Blue showed some promise near the end of the season, rushing for 202 yards on 46 carries through the final three games of the season. The reason he got so many carries is because the Texans were losing faith in former workhorse Lamar Miller, who ran for a career low 3.7 yards per carry this season. If the Texans continue to lose faith in Miller, it would be wise to keep Blue around, especially with the production he’s had as of late.
T.J. Yates – Quarterback: Sweep
This is actually the third stint T.J. Yates has had with the Texans, as he’s been let go by the organization after the 2013 and 2015 seasons. T.J. Yates yet again came in as a replacement for Tom Savage for the final three weeks of this 2017 season and lost every game he played in. He played so horrific, that he never even reached a Quarterback Rating above 60 in any game that he started in. Furthermore, if it weren’t for the help of catch of the year candidate touchdown grabs by DeAndre Hopkins, Yates’ numbers would’ve looked even worse. With Tom Savage hopefully back next year as the backup, and Deshaun Watson as the MVP caliber starter, T.J. Yates can hit the curb for a third time.
Jonathan Joseph – Cornerback: Keep
Jonathan Joseph has already expressed interest in returning to the Texans for the final years of his career, and they should be loyal to their only good cornerback and sign him to an extension. Joseph has been on the Texans since 2011, been heavily involved in the community, and is still an average corner: with a 75.7 rating by Pro Football Focus. And being an average corner is good for the Texans, as they currently don’t have anyone better than him and should only be signing one in free agency. Joseph should be a cheap option for an extension, is worth the extension, and deserves to retire a Houston Texan.
Marcus Gilchrist – Strong Safety: Sweep
Marcus Gilchrist has been a solid safety for the Texans, but has not been able to get other players to the ground, his 45 tackles are only 53rd out of all safeties. And many of the safeties above him didn’t even play the entire season. This inability to bring running backs to the ground leaves room for big plays and is a problem the Texans can’t have, especially when their run defense is still currently one of their strengths. To shore up this problem, Gilchrist must be released and replaced by a safety who can make tackles.
Shane Lechler – Punter: Keep
There isn’t much to say here since he’s a punter. Just know Lechler is one of the best in the business, a great punter, and someone the Texans should extend immediately. And at 41 years old, Shane Lechler is still alive and kickin’ (pun intended).
Chris Clark – Left Tackle: Sweep
One of the worst tackles in football, Chris Clark is one of the many offensive lineman the Texans need to part with in order to fix the biggest problem on their team. According to Pro Football Focus, he is the 82nd ranked tackle in football and hasn’t done nearly enough to replace former tackle Duane Brown, who was traded to the Seattle Seahawks.
Andre Ellington – Running Back: Sweep
Ellington was claimed off waivers mid-season by the Houston Texans, joining cousin and Texans wide receiver Bruce Ellington. Ellington had a few good receiving games, but he just isn’t a good fit for the Houston Texans. With Lamar Miller already being the established passing down back, along with D’Onta Foreman and Alfred Blue vying for carries, there simply isn’t enough room for the Texans to use Andre Ellington. Hopefully he signs with a team that can better utilize his receiving skill set.
Tom Savage – Quarterback: Keep
Despite being one of the lower end quarterbacks in football, Savage can always pull out a few wins in case of a Deshaun Watson injury. Also, Savage has been with the Texans for three years and knows Bill O’Brien’s system very well. Furthermore, he is extremely tough and is a reliable quarterback who’ll play through injuries. He should be a cheap player to extend for the Texans.
Breno Giacomini – Right Tackle: Sweep
I don’t understand why Giacomini was on the Texans in the first place, but he should immediately be released. He is ranked as the 86th tackle in football according to Pro Football Focus and is one of the main reasons, along with Chris Clark, that the Texans offensive line has been the biggest weakness of the entire team.
Marcus Williams – Cornerback: Sweep
Marcus Williams, along with Kareem Jackson, have made the Texans corners some of the worst in the league. The Texans need to get rid of all corners not named Jonathan Joseph and start looking to the draft and free agency to fix what is broken.
Eddie Pleasant – Free Safety: Keep
Although I’m not advocating Eddie Pleasant should be the starting safety, I think he’s a solid safety who would solidify the depth of the Texans secondary. Nothing pops out of the page with Pleasant, just an average 77.3 rating on Pro Football Focus, but there is nothing necessarily bad about him either. He’s just an average safety who should be extended solely for the purposes of depth, because in the NFL you never know when someone will go down.
Xavier Su’a-Filo – Offensive Guard: Keep
Basically every offensive lineman on the Houston Texans either needs to be replaced or released; Su’a Filo is the only exception that is about to hit free agency. Drafted 33rd overall out of UCLA in 2014, Su’a-Filo has drastically underperformed; being ranked as the 80th best guard in football. Despite playing horribly, there is a reason he was drafted so early in 2014, and the potential he showed then should be enough for the Texans to sign him to a very cheap extension. If he was an expensive player to keep, then the Texans should let him walk, but it should cost next to nothing to keep Su’a-Filo as a depth player. Not to mention, he’s only 27 years old and still has time to become a better lineman.
Josh Johnson – Quarterback: Sweep
Jordan Todman – Running Back: Sweep
Jelani Jenkins – Outside Linebacker: Sweep