The Houston Texans had one of the most feared pass rushers in all of the league in 2012, and his name was J.J. Watt. Watt wound up leading the NFL in sacks with 20.5, but he needs help, and the best option for the Texans is due to be a free agent. Outside linebacker Connor Barwin didn’t have a great season last year, but he’s been a very productive pass rusher in the past and he needs to be re-signed.
Barwin only posted three sacks last year, but he did have 11.5 in the 2011 season, so he’s capable of getting to the quarterback; but, the Texans also had a ton of injuries at the linebacker position that may have hurt Barwin’s statistics. When everyone’s healthy, he makes a nice one-two punch along with Watt, but without Barwin in the fold, the Texans will be looking for a starting outside linebacker.
Barwin, who has 19 career sacks, was productive in other areas of the defense last season posting seven tackles for a loss and five passes defensed, so he would definitely be missed if he’s not brought back. Aside from Barwin, the only other legitimate outside linebacker for the Texans will be second-player Whitney Mercilus so the Texans need to keep Barwin in the fold to keep their draft needs down.
The good news for the Texans is that Barwin may be cheaper to retain off of a down season, so now maybe the time to get a team friendly-deal done. Barwin is a good player entering into his prime, and the Houston Texans need to re-sign him.
you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi