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NFL Houston Texans

5 Free Agents The Houston Texans Should Re-Sign This Offseason

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5 Free Agents To Re-Sign This Offseason

Houston Texans
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The Houston Texans were not only expected to get into the playoffs this season, but also contend for a Super Bowl. They had reached the playoffs in two consecutive seasons and were bringing back most of their roster from the year before. They also added another playmaking receiver in DeAndre Hopkins and future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed.

However, after getting off to a 2-0 start, the Texans lost their final 14 games and were a team in a lot of turmoil. Matt Schaub, who played QB for eight years, lost his job to Case Keenum. Keenum, who was an undrafted rookie in 2012 and didn’t play a snap last year, ended up playing eight games and was very inconsistent.

The Texans also lost running back Arian Foster after eight games. His injury opened the door for Ben Tate, who rushed for 771 yards and four TDs. He showed the ability to be an every down back by catching 34 passes out of the backfield.

Defensive End J.J. Watt, who won the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year award, had a bit of a down year by his standards. He finished with 80 tackles, but just 10.5 sacks and seven passes defended. In 2012, he had 81 tackles, 20.5 sacks and 16 passes defended.

Safety Ed Reed was a disappointment from the start of the season and was cut after playing in only seven games and registering 16 tackles and no interceptions. He was signed by the New York Jets and also played in seven games, but had 22 tackles and three interceptions.

Houston fired head coach Gary Kubiak during the season and replaced him with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. After failing to win a game as the interim coach, the Texans looked outside the organization and hired Bill O’Brien from Penn State to take over. O’Brien, who was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, looks to get the Texans back to the postseason without having to overhaul the roster.

It was a terrible season all around for the Texans, but they have roster filled with experience and talent. They also have the No. 1 pick in the draft and most of their important players signed for next year. They do have many free agents, but these five will be the most important for them to bring back in order to compete in 2014.

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5. Garrett Graham

Graham
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans have had a very reliable tight end in Owen Daniels for eight years. However, he was placed on IR after playing in just five games in 2013 and Graham took over as the starter. He came into the season with 29 catches over his first three years; in 2013 he had 49 catches for 545 yards and five TDs. Daniels will turn 32 during the season and having Graham will be a great insurance policy and eventual replacement for Daniels.

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4. Wade Smith

Smith
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Wade Smith was a Pro Bowl guard in 2012 and has the ability to play all five offensive line positions. He struggled in 2013, but still should be signed as a starter or a sixth offensive lineman.

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3. Ben Tate

Tate
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Arian Foster. After he got hurt, Ben Tate showed that he has the ability to be a No. 1 back in the league. It is difficult to break the bank on a backup running back, but if you don't re-sign him, you risk losing him for nothing and going into the season with no proven backup to Foster.

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2. Darryl Sharpton

Sharpton
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After being drafted in the fourth round in 2010, Sharpton was mostly a special teams linebacker and back up in his first three years. After an injury to Brian Cushing, Sharpton became an every down player and led the Texans in tackles with 87. His value decreased because he didn't have an interception or sack, but if you put him alongside Cushing and Brooks Reed next year, you could have one of the better linebacker trios in the league.

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1. Antonio Smith

Smith
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In a 3-4 Defense, the defensive end's statistics aren't usually indicative of how well they play. Antonio Smith has solid stats with 30 tackles and five sacks a year ago. He is getting older and this may be his last chance to secure a long term contract, but the Texans need him opposite J.J. Watt and should make him their top priority.