Status of Texans players allowed to explore free agency (updated 5:00 p.m., March 22, 2012):
- Eric Winston – Winston was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday (3/17). The four year, $22 million deal is about the same as what he was making in Houston and far from ‘top tackle’ money. Winston was not a free agent but a ‘cap casualty’ who was cut to save salary cap space going forward.
- Lawrence Vickers – Vickers signed with the Cowboys on Wednesday (3/14).
- Matt Leinart – released (UFA). Leinart had an interesting going away message for critical fans. Click here to read it. Leinart would be a good fit in Oakland where former Texans QB coach Greg Knapp is now offensive coordinator.
- Mario Williams – The Bills signed Mario on Thursday to the largest contract ever given to a defensive player. It’s a high risk move to load up that much on one player. And yes, of course, it was all about the money.
- Chris Myers – There was a sigh of relief from Texans fans everywhere on Friday (3/16) as Myers decided to stay with the Texans, signing a four year deal with $14 million guaranteed. With Brisiel and Winston gone, re-signing Myers was a top priority.
- Joel Dreessen – Dreessen visited the Saints over the weekend (3/17) but left without a contract. Dreessen met with the Bengals on Monday (3/19) and was in Tennessee on Tuesday (3/20). Dreessen finally decided to nix a Texans offer and sign with the Broncos on 3/23, a deal that will pay him $8.5 million over three years. Getting to catch passes from Peyton Manning and live near his home in Colorado made this one a no-brainer.
- Mike Brisiel – Brisiel signed with Oakland on Friday (3/17). Former Texans coaches Greg Knapp and Frank Pollack (one of Brisiel’s position coaches with the Texans) are with Oakland now, so Brisiel will be in familiar territory with a new deal for 5 years and $20 million.
- Jason Allen – The Bengals signed Allen to a 2 year, $8.2 million deal. Four million dollars per year for Jason Allen is all you need to know about free agency. (3/17)
- Neil Rackers – UFA. No news.
- Dominique Barber – UFA. No news
- Tim Bulman – UFA. No news
- Derrick Ward – UFA. Ward posted this message for Texans fans on Twitter Wednesday evening.
- Kasey Studdard – UFA. No news
- Tim Dobbins – UFA. No news
- Bryant Johnson – UFA. No news
- Quintin Demps – UFA. Demps was the Texans only restricted free agent, meaning they could have maintained some rights to him by making him a qualifying offer (tender) but the Texans elected not to tender Demps so he’s an UFA.
UFA means the player is no longer on the Texans roster and the team has forfeited any rights it had to the player. UFAs are not under contract and they are ‘unrestricted’ and ‘free’ to negotiate a new deal with any team, including the Texans.
And if you haven’t figured it out by now, the Texans are not going to be major players in free agent acquistions. The Texans were $8.7 million under the salary cap before the Myers signing and Myers’ deal counts about $4.5 so the Texans are around $4.2 million under (before trading DeMeco Ryans), which is still not good considering what they still need to do. Trading Ryans cost the Texans at least a million in cap space.
Possible Texans pursuits
The 49ers released cornerback Shawntae Spencer Thursday morning. Texans DB coach Vance Joseph wasted no time placing a call to his former pupil. With Jason Allen an unrestricted free agent, the Texans are in the market for another corner to play opposite Johnathan Joseph. Update (3/19) – Spencer decided to stay in the Bay Area, signing with Oakland.