Free Agent File: DT
Shaun Rogers, recently cut by the Cleveland Browns
Drafted: 2001, 2nd Round
Age: 31 (32 in March)
What we know
With the Browns moving in a new direction defensively (switching from the 3-4 to the 4-3), Rogers found himself on the chopping block in Cleveland. Of course, he has played in the 4-3 in the past – this was more about the $5.5 million plus $500K roster bonus he was due in 2011 more than anything else. According to his former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Rogers had become a “dominant” player. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he is certainly a very effective nose tackle. I’m not really sure how dominant Rogers was considering he only started one game last year, as he was supplanted by Ahtyba Rubin. I’m pretty sure dominant players are, you know, starters.
The problem with Rogers has always been that he can be great when he wants to be great, but he doesn’t want to always be great. You know who else was like that, even at his best? Albert Haynesworth, and he was pretty good on the field even if he was/is a lazy, selfish bastard.
What we don’t know
There isn’t a lot we don’t know about Rogers. He has played well with minimal talent around him, and though he is certainly nearing the end of his career, there aren’t a ton of guys you’d want to have ahead of him at the NT position. This seems to be relevant to a lot of people, so I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Rogers was born in Houston, and has already said it would be a dream come true for him to finish his career here. But with their “character rules,” would the Texans lay their money down for a guy who has had character issues? (2006 – suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. 2010 – arrested at an airport for having a loaded weapon in his carry-on bag. Not very smart.)
As of this article, the Washington Redskins are moving quickly to bring Rogers in, but the obvious destination for Rogers (despite his feelings about Houston) is Dallas. His ex-coordinator Ryan is heading up the defense there, and his ability to also play DE in the 3-4 gives him some added value. Plus you know Jerry Jones loves to land Longhorns on his team.
Since his rookie year in 2001, Rogers has played in 140 of a possible 160 regular season games. In 2010 and 2009, he played in 15 and 11 games, respectively. At his age, he seems to still have something left in the tank.
My thoughts on Rogers joining the Texans
This is of course the popular feeling on Rogers, but I think he’d be a great addition to the team. He might be energized from a change of scenery, especially since Houston is his hometown! (Just kidding, I think that’s one of the most overrated clichés in all of professional sports.) But he would be a fine addition. If the Texans are serious about turning this defense around immediately, Rogers would go a long way to making that happen.
Remember when Wade Phillips inexplicably started working on his stand-up comedy routine by saying how Amobi Okoye or Shaun Cody could start as the nose tackle in 2011? Yeah, that wasn’t funny. But if they bring in Rogers, maybe one of those two (or Earl Mitchell) could work out as a backup.
For me, the only issue with Rogers will be money. Yes, I’d like to see the Texans spend a bit, and Rogers would be a good one to spend on – but this team has SO many problems, and they really need to address the secondary in free agency. Moving on Rogers shouldn’t preclude the Texans from also adding a fairly pricey veteran defensive back. Even if Rogers is probably about to sign his last NFL contract, he’d be a huge upgrade for the Texans and could make a difference in 2011. Make the call, Rick. Tell him not to sign with the Redskins until the Texans get a chance to talk numbers as well.