The 2022 season was another forgettable one for the Houston Texans. They finished the year 3-13-1, last place in the AFC South, and fired yet another head coach.
Houston started smashing the reset button as soon as the season wrapped. DeMeco Ryans will be the team’s third head coach in the last three years. Whether or not he’ll benefit from more patience and stability from the franchise leadership remains to be seen.
Needless to say, the Texans have a ton of work to do this offseason, and it’ll only be the first step toward climbing back to competitiveness. However, the team enters the 2023 offseason with at least two things working in its favor. First, their terrible finish did at least lock down the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They’ve also got the 12th pick, acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the DeShaun Watson trade. Second, they’ve got a ton of cap space, more than $37 million, with more likely to come as they jettison unneeded contracts from the roster.
Houston Texans free agency preview
Players to target
With two picks in the top 12 spots, it figures that the Texans will address the quarterback position in the draft—they’d be wise to, at any rate. With the other first-round pick, they could find a cornerstone pass rusher, two pieces of the puzzle that every rebuilding franchise needs.
Of course, a rookie quarterback is going to need a solid protector on the blindside, so one of Houston’s first moves in free agency should be agreeing on a new deal for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who’s entering the final year of his current contract.
One outside free agent who could make an immediate impact is center Ethan Pocic from the Cleveland Browns. He’d not only be another boost for an incoming rookie passer, but he’d also help the ground game behind Dameon Pierce, the one bright spot on the roster.
It’s not a great market for wide receivers, but Houston could give their offense a big boost with someone like DJ Chark or Richie James. Both of those players would probably be better as No. 2 receivers, but either one would have a real impact right away in Houston. Another possibility would be tight end Evan Engram, an explosive tight end who would pair nicely with Pierce in this offense. If the Jaguars aren’t inclined to let Engram walk, Hayden Hurst could be another solid option at the tight end position. Or they could keep tight end Jordan Akins.
Safety Vonn Bell would be a major upgrade in the secondary, helping give the Texans a solid middle-of-the-field defender to complement their linebackers. They could also opt for a linebacker like Tremaine Edmunds.