A breakdown of the first week of free agency for the Houston Texans:
Most significant signing: There aren’t many options to choose from, as the Texans have signed only three players so far in free agency -- and they were all re-signings. The most significant was kicker Nick Novak, who was an important part of Houston’s offense last season; the Texans probably would not have made the playoffs without him. In 2016, Novak connected on a career-high 35 field goals, which was the second most in the NFL last season. If the Texans aren’t able to fix their issues in the red zone, he will continue to be a key part of the offense.
Most significant loss: The Texans chose not to franchise-tag A.J. Bouye and lost him to the Jacksonville Jaguars on a five-year, $67.5 million deal. Bouye played his way to becoming the Texans’ top cornerback by the end of last season, which was especially important because the team’s secondary dealt with a lot of injuries. Houston does still have three cornerbacks under contract -- veterans Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph and 2015 first-round pick Kevin Johnson -- so the Texans didn’t necessarily need to re-sign Bouye. But losing a player who had a season like he did in 2016 is tough.
Player they should have signed: The Texans lost three starters on defense in free agency, including outside linebacker John Simon. Without Simon, the Texans don’t have much depth at the position. Although he missed five games with a chest injury in the second half of last season, Simon was a good run-stopping outside linebacker who set the edge well. He will stay in the AFC South after signing a three-year deal worth $13.5 million with the Colts. The Texans also let safety Quintin Demps go in free agency, but because this is a defensive-back-heavy draft, the team will likely have more options in replacing Demps than Simon.
What’s next: Although he is not a free agent yet, quarterback Tony Romo should be a Texans priority when he is released by the Dallas Cowboys. The Texans have only two quarterbacks on the roster -- Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden -- after trading Brock Osweiler to the Cleveland Browns at the beginning of free agency. The Texans need a starting quarterback, and if they can add Romo, he will be a big step up from the team’s quarterback play last season. Because the Texans don't appear willing to trade for Romo, this is a move Houston can't make until the Cowboys release him.
Overall grade: C. The Texans have signed only three players in the first week of free agency, all of whom were players on their roster last season. They did trade Osweiler and his $16 million guaranteed to the Browns, which cleared some cap space, but they have not made a corresponding move to sign a free-agent quarterback. There is still plenty of time for the Texans to add a quarterback, but if they are waiting for the QB piece to fall, they could miss out on free agents at other positions.