Even before he became a free agent, I labeled Brock Osweiler the bust of the 2016 free agent class. One who would surely be some GM’s biggest mistake of his career. GM, thy name is Rick Smith.
The Houston Texans gave Osweiler a $72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed despite the fact that he was a second round pick (not actually a sweet spot for great quarterbacks) with seven career starts and who had been benched for an awful Peyton Manning just two months earlier. Not only that, the Denver Broncos had tried to sign Tyrod Taylor in 2015 to supplant Osweiler as the backup. The Broncos had no confidence in a player they monitored closely for four years and somehow that screamed “franchise” to the Texans.
Osweiler threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with 5.8 yards per attempt and the starting gig in Houston is up for grabs once again. His $19 million cap hit is guaranteed and can’t be changed without a renegotiation (which I’m sure Osweiler is not keen to do), so the Texans have just $23 million in cap space instead of having a lot more and that could be one reason they didn’t give the franchise tag to cornerback A.J. Bouye. Because of that, Houston could be losing one of their best players and will at least have to make some tough decisions on some others.
Hey, at least you have a Super Bowl champion QB, right?
Will any of these players not named Osweiler be of interest to the Seattle Seahawks?
Impending Free Agents
A.J. Bouye, CB
I wrote about Bouye’s length at length in January and discussed whether or not he’d be a target for the Seahawks. You should read that if interested to learn more, but the short answer is that he’d be a nice pickup for Seattle if he was a draft prospect or if he hadn’t exploded onto the scene as a top-15 corner last season, but not at the $11 million/year he’s expected to get. And that is on the low end. Now maybe Bouye is not an elite corner and we’ve seen the best of him, but he could be and there’s a good chance he’ll be in a new city next season.
Devon Still, DT
As a person, Still has stood out because of his young daughter Leah’s very public battle against cancer. That’s the type of human Pete Carroll has always coveted and roots for. But as a player, the former second round pick out of Penn State who was dubbed as the most NFL-ready defensive lineman in the 2012 draft, Still’s been injured and ineffective through five seasons. He was released by the Bengals in 2014 and they picked him right back up just so his daughter would have medical coverage. He was not in the league in 2015 and then played in three games with Houston last season. If he signs somewhere, it’ll be for a cheap, non-guaranteed contract, so that’s one reason to give him a chance. Just know that he has not done much in his career as a player to warrant many more football opportunities, but it’s fair to say he’s done more than enough as a father to be given a chance anyway. There’s still a bunch of people rooting for Devon and Leah Still.
Vince Wilfork, DT
I don’t believe anything is official, but Wilfork said after his last game that he was probably done.
Oday Aboushi, OG/OT
Aboushi is 6’5, 308 lbs, with 33.8” arms, so he’s got the size Seattle likes. But he’s been a backup guard throughout his career and his 17 reps on the bench, 5.45 40-yard dash, 23.5” vertical at the 2013 combine are below expectations for an offensive lineman athletically. He’d cost nothing to add to the mix though, so it’s very possible his agent hears from John Schneider.
Others: P Shane Lechler, K Nick Novak, DE Antonio Smith, S Quintin Demps, LB Akeem Dent, RB Jonathan Grimes, LB John Simon, S Don Jones
Potential Cap Casualties
Jonathan Joseph, CB
The team would save over $6.4 million by cutting Joseph, who is about to turn 33 and is potentially on the cusp of not being an NFL-caliber player anymore. But if they lose Bouye, it’s less likely that they’d cut a different starting cornerback. The team is expecting Kevin Johnson, their first round pick in 2015, to return from injury as well — they may need to cut Joseph just to have the money to re-sign Bouye, who is infinitely more important to their short-term and long-term success.
Brian Cushing, LB
Cushing is an eight-year Texans linebacker but he’s significantly injured most years and his 2016 production in 13 games was severely lacking. I’m sure Houston isn’t rushing to get rid of a fan favorite but they’d save $5.3 million if they did.
Tony Bergstrom, C/G/T
Bergstrom is playing center now, but he played tackle in college and was drafted by the Raiders in the third round in 2012 as a guard. He’s pretty much failed at every position but he’s been described as being best suited for the zone blocking scheme and at a cost of almost nothing, I’m sure Seattle has him on a list somewhere. The Texans will save $2.8 million by releasing him.
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