Houston Texans: 2014 Free Agency Dashboard
As the Texans make moves amidst a coaching regime change, I think it makes sense to look back at what has necessitated all of the movement that's gone on in the organization in the last few months.
Photo by Ed Schipul Big changes for the Houston Texans.
Certainly, indecisiveness and questionable decisions by the previous coaching staff contributed greatly to last season's 2-14 record. At the same time, though, it's only fair to also point to a slew of recent drafts that have yielded bust after bust in the middle and late rounds ("cheap labor" rounds), some cap choking contracts that have been hit or miss (including $29 million guaranteed to Matt Schaub, who earned about $4 million of it), and decisions like $5 million guaranteed to Ed Reed (around $700,000 per game played) as reasons for the Texans' plummet in 2013.
In short, personnel decisions matter.
The whole thing had been a teardown process that began in 2006, progressed through division titles in 2011 and 2012, and then crapped out badly in 2013. The Texans started the process as the worst team in the league eight years ago, won a couple divisions, then finished 2013 as the worst team in the league.
By every measure that matters, the teardown and rebuild was a failure. So with the release Tuesday of tight end Owen Daniels, it's appropriate (and chilling) to point out that the only remaining football employee still here from 2006 (other than Andre Johnson, who was here before everyone else got here) is Rick Smith, the very architect behind the roster that's being torn down yet again as we speak.
Someday, this will all make sense. I hope. For now, let's see what's happening with the Texans after the first several hours of free agency.
GOOD BYE OWEN, GOOD BYE BRICE, HOPE YOU FIND YOUR PARADISE
With the Texans under the cap by around the amount that the league bumped up the ceiling a couple weeks ago, we knew there would be some cap casualties on the current roster. First, Tuesday morning, came the release of Brice McCain, who parlayed one outlier year of solid performance in 2011 into a three year contract heading into 2013. He made it through one year of that deal. McCain's release saves the Texans $850,000 in cap space this season.
(NOTE: It also means that Bob McNair cut checks totaling $7.25 million in real money to Brice McCain and Ed Reed in 2013, and that $3.57 million in dead money from both deals will linger on the 2014 cap like a stale fart.)
Then, Tuesday afternoon, came the release of tight end Owen Daniels, which cleans out one big piece (and contract) of the Kubiak regime, and sent the clear message that there are no scraps in Bill O'Brien's scrapbook. We all knew this could be a possibility, as releasing Daniels saves $4.5 million against the 2014 cap, however we assumed that letting Daniels go would mean Garrett Graham would be locked up with a new deal. Well, that didn't happen. As we type this, Graham is a free agent and the Texans are flying with Ryan Griffin (6th round rookie last season) as the starting tight end.