All things considered, the Houston Texans made a solid signing by bringing in Andre Brown on a veteran’s minimum contract. Brown, who has a past injury history, was easily the best available free agent running back for his asking price. Although he merely averaged a paltry 3.5 yards per carry last season, Brown was a solid fill-in for a New York Giants team that had an absolutely horrendous offensive line.
What Brown brings to the Texans is a veteran presence (yet he is only 27), a cheap contract, and a solid back up to often-injured Arian Foster. Brown provides depth to the Texans running back corps that recently was weakened due to Ben Tate’s departure. Now, the Texans do not necessarily have to address the running back position in the draft. Granted, I think they should at least consider drafting a running back in the later rounds or simply sign one of the many undrafted free agents in order that they may come in to compete for the third running back spot on the roster. As of now, I do not think that the Texans have anyone on the roster that they could reliably trust in to take a handful of carries and be successful if Foster or Brown were to go down. Dennis Johnson and Jonathan Grimes had a few moments last season, but they are not going to be long-term solutions. Due to Foster’s injury history and high mileage that he has racked up from the past few seasons, the Texans will eventually need to find a suitable replacement for the philosophizing and attention grabbing Foster. This need is not one that has to be addressed this draft, since they have other apparent holes to fill, but it is one that Rick Smith and company will keep in the forefront of their mind.
At least on the surface, Rick Smith’s signing of Brown was a very underappreciated and savvy move that could pay big dividends for this Texans team. The best-case scenario with Brown this season is that he does not have to play a lot because of Foster’s return to stardom and relevancy. If he does have to play, the best-case scenario is that he earns his paycheck and eventually signs a longer deal to stay with the Texans for a few more seasons as a reliable back up to Foster. The worst-case scenario is that Brown has to come in for Foster and Brown gets injured again like seasons past. As optimistic Texans fans, we can hope that the former is the case and that this signing, although not one that is making headlines, really strengthens this team for the upcoming season.