Peyton Manning is coming to the Texans!!!!!
Mario Williams is going to re-sign with the Texans super-cheap!!!!!
An NFL punter will get busted for steroids!!!!!
The much bigger issue right now, is Chris Myers. The Texans are feverishly trying to create as much cap room as possible right now to re-sign him. People who think the cap-clearing is to find a way to shoehorn Mario Williams under the salary cap are going to be disappointed. People who think the Texans are going to go after Peyton Manning should be immediately placed into a psychiatric facility.
People say the center is like the “quarterback of the offensive line.” That may be an exaggeration, but if there is a kernel of truth in it, it’s probably more true for the center of a zone-blocking offensive line. Myers really came into his own the last couple of seasons, after being a whipping-boy for many Texans fans (and certain bloggers who may in fact be typing these words as we speak). It sure took a while to get there for him, but he got there. He is arguably the best center in the league after some shaky moments in a Texans uniform.
It is for that very reason that the Texans are going to do anything they possibly can to get a deal done. The chance of finding a “plug and play” center at even CLOSE to the level Myers plays at in this offense is slim. It’s even more slim when you consider what the backup plan would be. Sure, there may be some guys that could turn out close to, or as good as Myers – but not in 2012, and probably not even in 2013. What are the options if things don’t work out with Myers? I see three possible solutions – none of them good ones.
1. Move a current O-lineman to center
Mike Brisiel is currently the only center on the Texans’ depth chart other than Myers. The first problem is that Brisiel, like Myers, is an unrestricted free agent. Secondly, I’m not sure he would even be the first choice as the guy to take over for Myers out of players currently on the roster. Antoine Caldwell was drafted to play center, but the Texans soon after had him firmly entrenched as a guard. Clearly he didn’t impress the Texans’ brass as center, and I don’t know anyone who has been bowled over by his spot performances at guard.
Wade Smith might be a more realistic option. Smith has played some center in his career effectively, but he’s SO good at what he does for the Texans – I’m not sure you want to mess with that. Plus, who are you going to replace him with at guard? Kasey Studdard? Shelley Smith? A rookie, or low-tier free agent (which is all Houston will be able to afford)?
2. The Draft
A lot of bloggers will read a couple of blurbs about the draft, and think based on that they know something. Well, maybe if you’ve been reading and keeping up for months – but I haven’t been. I’m not going to sit behind a laptop and pretend I know everything about centers in the 2012 draft class. Why would I lie to you (if there’s no money in it for me)?
Sure, draft a rookie center to be your starter. But if you want one to make an immediate impact, he better be insanely talented, smart, hard-working, and fantastic at making line calls in the Zone Blocking Scheme. If that sounds unrealistic, that’s because it is. I’d actually like to hear from you guys who are more plugged-in to the draft than I am this year. Who are some good options at center if the Texans were to go that route (which I highly doubt)? I know there are a couple of centers thought to be good ZBS fits out there, such as Ohio State’s Michael Brewster, and Michigan’s David Molk. I’ve also seen that the consensus top center in the draft, Wisconsin’s Peter Konz, is athletic enough and has good enough feet to excel in the ZBS. But when? Immediately? That’s what you need… or at least a guy who can come close to what Myers brings to the table. It’s just not feasible.
3. Free Agency
Rumors have been swirling for a couple of weeks that the Green Bay Packers will make a strong run at Chris Myers (30) once free agency starts. They have their own free agent center, Scott Wells (31), whom Myers would be replacing. Wells figures to make a pretty decent dollar as well, and may not come any cheaper than Myers would. Nick Hardwick (30) of the Charges will be out there, as well as New England’s Dan Koppen, and several others. A lot of the top available FA centers either aren’t good Zone Blocking Scheme fits, or at least aren’t enough of a sure thing to spend the money necessary to find out. Oh, and by the way – the Texans don’t actually have much room to maneuver, free agent-wise. So if they were to resort to free agency, the step back from Myers would be tremendous.
Raiders center Samson Satele is only 27, and was “eh, kinda solid” with the Raiders, who run some ZBS… but can a guy like that replace Myers? Lordy, no he can’t. Not any time soon. Let’s not make it a total impossibility here, because as I said – Myers himself was average at best and beyond awful at worst before he came into his own sometime in 2010… but the Texans are built to win right now, not three years from now.
In short, I can sum up this 1000 word entry like this – “Nothing the Texans do in free agency, the draft, or in converting an existing player to center will come close to what Chris Myers can do in the immediate future.”
The Texans need to do whatever it takes – within reason – to hang on to Myers. He’s playing at an elite level in an offense that he excels in, he’s proven to be durable – starting in a possible 80 out of 80 games since 2007, and he and his line have given proven, on-field results in the last two years. I suspect we will see a deal done prior to the open free agency period, even if it means saying goodbye to a couple of guys we’d rather not lose.