January 6, 2008
1st Dream of a Virgin Offseason
by Keith Weiland
I didn’t want to let this guilty pleasure happen, thinking about who I’d love the Texans to sign in free agency. Not yet, at least. It’s too early in the offseason.
I really like to wait until late February to dig into the free agency options, once we know how all the teams handled their franchise and transition tags and whether they re-signed their own players. That, and it usually takes me that long to remember to shy away from wanting to see the Texans spend any big money on free agents, mostly since they have failed miserably just about every single time they signed someone.
But here we are, January’s a bitch, and the Texans are out of the playoffs. So I have some free time on Sundays once again to let the mind wander.
And as much as I want to take Bob McNair’s checkbook and hide it between my sofa cushions until April, there are just some guys that might be available in March (if we’re really, really lucky), the kind of players that have got me daydreaming of spending the sort of cash that might even make Richard Branson blush.
DE Terrell Suggs, Ravens
I’m shocked the Ravens haven’t locked him up, especially after not retaining Adalius Thomas last year. Not sure what Brian Billick’s departure means to Suggs sticking with Baltimore (probably nothing), but I am loving the fantasy of Suggs at right defensive end with Mario Williams at his rightful home on the left side.
I know it’s more cap dollars on the defensive line – holy cow, have the Texans thrown money at the D-line over the years – but at 25 years old and 45 sacks thus far into his career, Suggs ought to have the best years still ahead of him. A line with the pass rushing capabilities of Suggs, Williams, and a hopefully emerging Amobi Okoye would be thoroughly impressive.
LB Karlos Dansby, Cardinals
There are too many needs to address in April’s draft, and outside linebacker seems like one that will be missed. Dansby, 26, is productive as a tackler and disruptive as a blitzer, and he is just as much of a threat in coverage. Under a new coaching staff this year in Arizona, Dansby moved inside and helped stabilize the defense with more tackles, sacks, and forced fumbles.
Paired with DeMeco Ryans, himself converted to middle linebacker just two years ago, these two could let each other fly all over the field making plays for the Texans. Me likey the dream of a DeMeco freed from feeling like the only one out there who can make a play sometimes.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders
A player option in his contract makes him an unrestricted free agent now. Tall corner (6’2”) with untapped potential, Asomugha didn’t have a remarkably great season in 2007, at least statistically, but he had Pro Bowl production in 2006 and quarterbacks were keen to throw away from him.
Asomugha is simply wonderful in coverage. Even if Dunta Robinson returns healthy by midseason and Fred Bennett proves once and for all that he is the real deal, having three standout CBs would be awesome in slowing down the Colts in the division (and Pats in the AFC Championship Game… tee hee!). This just in… Peyton Manning isn’t going anywhere for awhile, so if the Texans ever want to best him, they’ll need three reliable corners on their side.
So maybe you noticed I’m only spending the greenbacks on the defense. Well, there’s good reason for that, as the Texans ranked 24th in yards allowed, 22nd in points allowed, and 23rd in third down conversions. Those rankings aren’t going to cut it as a playoff team.
I am also hoping that the Texans use the first day of the college draft to find a way to address their biggest needs on offense, namely left tackle and running back. The best left tackles come from the first round, not from other teams, and the worn treads on veteran running backs make me wish they came with something akin to a CarFax history report.
Okay, daydreaming over. There’s a really good possibility that none of these players even get a whiff of unrestricted free agency. They’re all good enough to be worthy of earning F-tags, and even the dumbest front offices are usually smart enough to keep their best young talent.
Dansby wants Julian Peterson money (7-years, $54 million). Suggs wants Dwight Freeney money (6 years, $72 million). Asomugha might not get the reported money Nate Clements took from the 49ers (8 years, $80 million), but he might want the real figures behind that deal (6 years, $44 million).
The Texans have enough cap room to land one of these three studly players if they aren’t somehow locked up by their current teams in the coming weeks, but the guaranteed money alone for these three players might be a combined $50 million or more. That’s pretty rich, even for McNair.
But not for a couple of dreamers like me and Branson.
Keith Weiland dreams of the Texans popping their playoff cherry next season.
Richard Branson Home