Texans’ Free Agent Signings Are Being Questioned

By Joe Booker
Updated: March 21, 2006

HOUSTON– Are the Houston Texans making the same free agent signings mistakes that they have made in the past? Have they signed free agents that are better than the players they let go? These are the questions that are being asked by many Texans fans. The free agents they have signed thus far don’t look like championship caliber talent. None played a key role for the team they played for last season.

They released linebacker Jamie Sharper and cornerback Aaron Glenn, but they did not sign players that were better. They gave up Glenn with the thought that Phillip Buchanan could come in and be the player maker opposite Dunta Robinson. Buchanan has been a burst.

The free agents the Texans have signed at this date don’t look on paper like the kind of players you build a championship team around.

Tony Banks was released, but Sage Rosenfels, who the Texans signed to replace Banks, is not rated as good as Banks. Josh Mccowan and Aaron Brooks were available and both are better quarterbacks than Rosenfels. If Rosenfels is better than Dave Ragone, the Texans should get rid of Ragone. The Texans greatest needs are in the offensive line and a pass rushing defensive end.

They have not filled the offensive line need through free agency. They signed defensive end Anthony Weaver, who is not known as a pass rusher. Lance Johnstone, who was an unrestricted defensive end from the Vikings, was available. Johnstone had 7.5 sacks last season and 28 the past three seasons. He is rated by scouts more-talented than Weaver. Antwan Peek and Jason Babin will move from linebacker to their natural defensive end position. Both are potentially better pass rushers than Weaver.

Wide receiver Kevin Walters was picked up from the Bengals. Walters had only two starts in his career and has caught only 19 passes for 211 yards and 1 touchdown in his career. Both Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford have had a better career. Gaffney caught 55 passes for 492 yards and 3 touchdowns last season. Walters caught 19 passes for 211 yards and 1 touchdown.

The Texans have stressed having a playmaker opposite Andre Johnson. Who have been the two play makers with playmaking speed on the Patriots Super Bowl teams? Jerry Rice has never been a speed burner, but he is one of the greatest receivers of all times.

Offensive tackles Kevin Shaffer (Atlanta) and L.J. Shelton (Cleveland), were also available. Both are better than what the Texans have at tackle. The Texans, at this writing, has not signed a much needed offensive tackle.

The Texans have not shown their hold card as far as who they will take with the first pick in the upcoming draft. They realize that both Bush and Young will put fans in the seats. While the sentiment in Houston is to go with hometown favorite Young, the Texans are looking closely at the versatile and ready –to-play Bush.

Their greatest needs are at left tackle and a pass rushing defensive end. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia’s All-American left tackle would solify the Texans need at left tackle. Mario Williams, North Carolina’s All-American defensive end could solve the pass rushing problem on the corners.

We know that as bad as the Texans need Ferguson and Williams, they will not take either with the first pick. Linemen don’t sell tickets. Player makers like Reggie Bush and Vincent Young sell tickets.

Domanick Davis has been a 1,000-plus rusher in his three years with the team. Davis is prone to injuries and he is not the kind of back that is a threat to take it to the house each time he touches the ball like Bush.

Players like Bush and Young come around every 20 years. Both are franchise athletes and will make any team better. Young has made it clear on several occasions that he wants to play here. New Texans coach Gary Kubiak has shown a lot of confidence in having David Carr

The Texans think that Carr could be better if he is provided with help. They feel that a player like Bush could make Carr, Andre Johnson as well as the return team better. If the Texans don’t draft Young and Carr does not lead the team to the playoffs, fans will not let them forget that they should have drafted Young.