UPDATE: Reports have now surfaced that the Texans have agreed to terms with backup QB Matt Leinart. This seals the fate of one Dan Orlovsky, who will become nothing more than a camp body. He will be one of the first cuts the Texans make if they need to dump salary in order to sign a costly free agent. This of course will be in addition to the numerous contract restructures they’ll have to do to get their financial house in order.
Quick morning update as day two of the post-lockout world kicks off – the Texans reeled in two of their key free agents late last night. As expected, the team was able to come to terms with WR Jacoby Jones, who is back for three years, $10.5 million, with $3.5 million guaranteed. Not an unreasonable deal for Jacoby, who I thought would pull in slightly more on the open market. He may well have been able to, but the Texans were able to make it happen.
Shockingly, swing tackle Rashad Butler will also return to the Texans. I had gone out of my way to repeatedly state he was leaving the Texans, which he said he intended to do both on Twitter and on local radio. In the end the market wasn’t as hot for him as I thought, or he thought it would be. Butler gets two years, $3.8 million, with a $1.25 million signing bonus. A very smart, economical signing for the Texans. Having a swing tackle who can come in and start or fill in with no notice and little worry is a GREAT thing. The Texans have been very fortunate that their starting tackles have been healthy for quite a while now, but one bad injury could have created a lot more uncertainty without Butler in the fold.
Despite various reports, QB Matt Leinart has yet to sign with anyone, though I’m sure we all expect him to end up elsewhere. There will be many veteran free agent QBs out there, but if it means jettisoning Dan Orlovsky – I’d like to have Leinart back as Matt Schaub’s backup. I can’t imagine he will cost that much, and even if he does – you know the Texans are willing to pay him considering the amount of cash they dropped on Orlovsky.
The next domino to fall could be Vonta Leach. While the Texans may in fact want him back desperately, they are also loading up with other options, including two undrafted free agent fullbacks, Justin “Bubba” Bartlett and Zac Pauga. Of course we all know that TE James Casey has also been preparing for a shot at the position should Vonta go elsewhere.
Vonta may be a casualty if the Texans are going to make room to sign a big name, or second-level free agent cornerback. I’ve been in the camp that says losing Vonta isn’t going to be devastating to the offense, but at the same time – I don’t want the Texans to mess with what they know works. But this team has some CRIPPLING needs right now, so if Leach won’t come to terms, I’ll wish him well and go forward with the understanding that the money meant for him will go to something more vital to the immediate future of the team.
The Texans also signed 33-year old journeyman defensive lineman Damione Lewis to a one-year deal at the veteran minimum on Tuesday. He had 13 tackles and a sack in 10 games with the Texans in 2010.
Feel free to pop in all day and post updates in the comments about ongoing free agency signings for the Texans and throughout the league.