After witnessing perhaps the most chaotic and fast-moving first day of free agency, the Houston Texans remain as one of the few teams that have not signed a single player. However, that has not stopped former players Earl Mitchell, Bryan Braman, Joe Mays, and Terrell McClain from signing big contracts with other teams. Players that were linked to the Texans prior to the beginning of free agency – Dexter McCluster, Paul Soliai, Tyson Jackson, Josh McCown – have been quickly signed by other teams. Antonio Smith is scheduled to visit several teams, including the Tennessee Titans, Owen Daniels is scheduled to visit the Green Bay Packers, and Ben Tate will meet with the Cleveland Browns. Interestingly enough, there has been no news about Garrett Graham and contract negotiations with any teams. This is in part due to the tight end market waiting on Jermichael Finley’s signing to set the bar for the rest, but it is obviously a good sign that Graham has not jumped ship yet.
If the Texans are not able to bring back Graham, look for them to target Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew, who formerly played for the Detroit Lions, would be a cheap plug-and-play veteran who is renowned for his blocking skills. His skill set would be much needed in Houston considering that Daniels, Graham, and Griffin have been more receiving tight ends with paltry blocking skills. Personally, I think the Texans need to do all that they can to bring Graham back into the fold. If Graham were to sign elsewhere, the Texans would be left with Ryan Griffin and Zach Potter. Although the team does expect big things from Griffin next season, they can not reasonably expect him to jump right into their starting tight end spot. The best case scenario for the team is to resign Graham to a reasonable contract so they can maintain some roster consistency and not have to spend a draft pick on the position when they have other pressing needs.
As for quarterback, it is becoming more likely that the Texans will keep Schaub at a reduced contract. With Josh McCown signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the highest rated quarterbacks on the market are Michael Vick, Shaun Hill, Josh Freeman. No matter how badly Texan fans want Schaub out of Houston, there is just no viable replacement for him out on the market. However, there is news coming out of the Raiders camp that they “covet” Schaub. If they are as serious as the report shows, the Texans could ship Schaub to Oakland in exchange for some draft picks if they do not end up cutting him. This gets Schaub out of Houston in exchange for more draft picks and a chance for another team to pay part of his contract. More likely than not, Schaub will be in Houston until heard otherwise.
In regards to the rest of the league quickly signing premier free agents, the Texans just do not have the luxury of spending big bucks on big name free agents. After all this quick spending ends (whenever that may be), the Texans will probably jump on some lesser known yet solid players to fill up some pressing holes. Look specifically for the Texans to possibly contact Walter Thurmond (if he makes it out of Jacksonville without a contract), Daryl Smith, and Brandon Spikes. At this point in free agency, the Texans are not going to be making huge, flashy signings. Instead, the team will navigate the market and look for smart, flexible signings that will help the team out talent wise and cap wise.