Free Agent File: FS
Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers
Drafted: 2007, 2nd Round
Age: Recently turned 26
As bad as the Texans cornerback play was in 2010, and my god it was bad, the safety play may have been worse. I don’t have any stats to back that up, but you saw the same games I did. Are we going to fight over who was worse? I didn’t think so.
Unless something very surprising happens, the Texans figure to have two new starting safeties in 2011. After an abysmal season, Eugene Wilson was cut last week and Bernard Pollard isn’t coming back. I had already mentioned that I thought he was a safe bet to be gone, and not long ago he even said on the radio (without saying it) that he doesn’t expect to be back.
With so much youth in the secondary already, and no safeties worthy of being selected at the 11 spot in the draft (or really even in the first round) the Texans are going to have to look into free agency if they’re going to get a guy they can count on next season. Sure, there are some 2nd or 3rd round prospects that could make an impact, but the Texans have SO many needs and at least one of the new corners or safeties needs to be a free agent pickup. Hopefully a higher-tier one.
Eric Weddle will probably end up re-signing with the Chargers, but if he ends up on the open market, the Texans should definitely take a look. Weddle is a heady safety. He doesn’t have a lot of pop, but his above-average (but not anywhere near elite) coverage skills would make him look like a hall of fame candidate compared to the guys who held the position in Houston before him. This blurb from SBNation.com says he’s “rarely out-of-position in deep support.” What does that mean? Is that legal?
He was a 2nd team NFL All-Pro in 2010 (good timing for his contract year), and he’s entering his prime. If he were to join the Texans, it’s hard to say how much he could help if they don’t also bring in a solid veteran corner, but conventional wisdom suggests that just having a free safety who can actually cover would make Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson look
Weddle missed a few games in 2009 with a knee injury, but he’s known to be very tough to get off the field. He’s played in 60 of a possible 64 regular season games since his rookie season in 2007, starting in 45 games.
UPDATE: It turns out that ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky mentioned Weddle as a possibility for the Texans today as well.