In addition to reports that the Texans are signing inside linebacker Bradie James, they’re also reportedly re-signing inside linebacker Tim Dobbins. Neither move has been announced by the team, meaning neither is yet official.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says Dobbins is coming back on a one-year deal. The 29-year-old veteran joined the Texans last offseason from the Miami Dolphins. He became the top backup to inside linebackers Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans after Darryl Sharpton suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8. Dobbins also led the Texans in special teams tackles in 2011.
Dobbins would be the fifth free agent the Texans have re-signed this offseason. He and James would make inside linebacker much less of a priority for the Texans in the 2012 NFL Draft on April 26-28.
Tags: Bradie James, Brian Cushing, Darryl Sharpton, Free agency, Tim Dobbins
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The Texans are signing Dallas Cowboys free agent linebacker Bradie James, according to reports from KRIV-TV and the Houston Chronicle. The move is not official, as it has not been announced by the team.
James, 31, has spent his entire nine-year career with the Dallas Cowboys. He played Mike linebacker, Brian Cushing’s position in Houston, in Dallas for Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and linebackers coach Reggie Herring. James had more than 100 tackles in each season under Phillips from 2007-10, and he led all NFL inside linebackers with 8.0 sacks in 2008.
A Monroe, La., native, James started 13 games for the Cowboys last season but had only 44 tackles under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. It was his lowest total since his second NFL season in 2004.
The Texans have not re-signed veteran inside linebacker Tim Dobbins, who helped Darryl Sharpton back up Cushing and DeMeco Ryans in 2011.
UPDATE: From James (@bradiejamesgang) on Twitter on Friday morning: “The wet ink has dried it is official I am a Houston
#Texan! #BullsonParade!!” Expect an announcement from the team soon. Either way, it’s nice to see that James already has the nickname of the Texans’ defense down.
Tags: Bradie James, Brian Cushing, Darryl Sharpton, Free agency, Reggie Herring, Tim Dobbins, Wade Phillips
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P Donnie Jones (March 30)
OLB Mario Williams (Bills, March 15)
G Mike Brisiel (Raiders, March 16)
CB Jason Allen (Bengals, March 19)
TE Joel Dreessen (Broncos, March 23)
ILB DeMeco Ryans (to Eagles, March 20)
QB Matt Leinart, FB Lawrence Vickers, T Eric Winston (March 13)
The Texans have 10 unrestricted free agents who remain unsigned: S Dominique Barber, DE Tim Bulman, QB Jake Delhomme, ILB Tim Dobbins, QB Jeff Garcia, WR Bryant Johnson, K Neil Rackers, G Kasey Studdard, P Matt Turk and RB Derrick Ward. Delhomme and Garcia are both expected to retire.
Tags: Arian Foster, Chris Myers, Donnie Jones, Free agency, Jon Weeks, Quintin Demps
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Safety Quintin Demps re-signed with the Texans on Thursday, choosing to stay in Houston over an offer from another team.
Demps finished the 2011 season as the Texans’ fourth safety, playing primarily in dime packages. He had two interceptions and 22 tackles in nine games.
“It feels good, man,” Demps said Wednesday after signing his contract at Reliant Stadium. “It’s a privilege and it’s an honor to be back. To be at a place that’s contending for a Super Bowl, it’s definitely a privilege and an honor.”
A three-year veteran, Demps was free to sign with any team because the Texans did not tender him as a restricted free agent. He said the primary reason he re-signed with the Texans was defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
“Wade – I want to be with Wade,” Demps said. “Coach Phillips and the defensive staff, and just Kub [head coach Gary Kubiak] and the organization. The sky’s the limit [for the defense], man. We went far not having the whole offseason, so just imagine with us having the whole offseason under a new system and really learning the little details of the defense. We’re going to be a great unit, I think.”
Demps originally signed with the Texans late in the 2010 season. He was cut after the final preseason game in 2011 but re-signed as a street free agent following an injury to free safety Danieal Manning in Week 7. He made an immediate impact with interceptions in both of his first two games.
“It was just like a relief for me, the fact that when you get cut, that was my second time being cut, and it was kind of like, ‘Dang’ – I questioned myself, ‘Can I really play?’” Demps said. “So coming back, having a good season, it kind of boosted my confidence up even more. So I’m coming in this year with some confidence and some excitement, and I’m ready to go.”
Tags: Free agency, Gary Kubiak, Quintin Demps, Wade Phillips
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The Texans shored up their special teams on Friday by signing punter Donnie Jones, a free agent who spent the last five seasons with the St. Louis Rams.
Jones is now the second punter on the roster. He joins Brett Hartmann, an undrafted rookie in 2011 who’s still rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered on Dec. 4. Hartmann is suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season because of a failed drug test.
The Texans still do not have a kicker, as Neil Rackers remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent. Rackers went 59-of-68 (86.8 percent) on field goals over the last two seasons in Houston.
Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano discussed Jones, Hartmann and Rackers on Friday at Reliant Stadium:
What excites you about this signing?
“We got a veteran player who’s young in age. You know, 31’s not old by any means. He’s a local guy – he’s from Baton Rouge, so I consider him local. I’ve watched him punt throughout his career, and overall, I think he’s a solid addition to our team as a person and as a player.”
Jones was top-four in the NFL in net punting average from 2007-10 but 26th in 2011. What happened, and are you concerned about the drop-off?
“I think when you look at numbers, you’ve got to watch the tape to see where they were punting; what type of coverage teams he had. Did they miss tackles? Did he have good core special teams guys playing with him? You’ve got to go to tape and see what happened. All I know is he came out in 2004 and he got cut in the middle of the year, and then two years later, he has a 50-yard average and is number one in the league. So he’s proven he can work through the growing pains. He’s met some adversity. He’s dealt with it. He’s moved on. Like I said, I’m glad we got him.”
How does he rate as far as hang time and other particular attributes?
“He can hang the ball. That’s the number one prerequisite of a punter. I watched his whole season last year. He started out real strong. Coming out of training camp and in the preseason games, he had more 5.0s [hang time] in the first four games than I’ve seen around here in a long time. I’m gonna tell you, the guy can hit a 5.0. He can angle punt. He can punt the ball out of bounds if you need to. He’s pretty good at everything. And he’s a good holder – a really good holder.”
Where does this leave Brett Hartmann?
“Well, Brett’s gotta understand, he has to compete when he comes back. We know Brett has the ability to kick off really, really well. Just come in and compete. Last year, he was practically handed the job and it was his to screw up, but he did pretty good. Now, he has to compete for the punting job.”
Does Jones kick off?
“He can, in a pinch.”
Where do things stand with Neil Rackers?
“We’d like to have Neil back, but now it’s in the agent and [vice president of football administration] Chris Olsen’s hands.”
Tags: Brett Hartmann, Donnie Jones, Free agency, Joe Marciano, Neil Rackers
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ProFootballTalk says it’s a two-year deal, citing a league source. Jones, 31, would be the Texans’ first free agent signing from another team in 2012. The only punter on the Texans’ roster is Brett Hartmann, an undrafted rookie in 2011 who is coming off a torn ACL and facing a three-game suspension at the start of the upcoming season.
Jones has a career net average of 38.8 yards per punt in eight NFL seasons. He spent the last five seasons with the St. Louis Rams and was a second-team All-Pro in 2008 and 2009. Jones ranked 26th in the NFL last season with a net average of 37.0 yards per punt, but he ranked in the top-four in each season from 2007-10.
Jones also was nicknamed “Thunderfoot” in high school and wrote a book about LSU’s 2003 national championship season.
Tags: Brett Hartmann, Donnie Jones, Free agency
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Two weeks into free agency, here’s an updated list of the Texans’ free agents and the teams, if any, with which they’ve signed. We posted the original list just before free agency began on March 13 at 3 p.m. CT, and will revisit it again a week or two from now.
CB Jason Allen (signed with Bengals March 19)
S Dominique Barber
G Mike Brisiel (signed with Raiders March 16)
DE Tim Bulman
QB Jake Delhomme
ILB Tim Dobbins
TE Joel Dreessen (signed with Broncos March 23)
QB Jeff Garcia
WR Bryant Johnson
C Chris Myers (re-signed March 17)
K Neil Rackers
G Kasey Studdard
P Matt Turk
RB Derrick Ward
OLB Mario Williams (signed with Bills March 15)
(LS Jon Weeks (re-signed March 5)
So the Texans have re-signed three players (Weeks, Foster and Myers), and four of their players (Williams, Brisiel, Allen and Dreessen) have signed elsewhere . Eleven of their free agents remain unsigned, including Delhomme and Garcia, who are expected to retire, and Demps, who was not tendered as a restricted free agent.
Tags: Arian Foster, Chris Myers, Free agency, Free Agency Tracker, Jon Weeks
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Compensatory selections are awarded at the end of rounds 3-7 based on teams’ net losses in free agency in the previous offseason. As explained by the league:
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks. The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four… Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.
The Texans lost Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and starting safety Bernard Pollard in free agency to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, but they signed three starters in Pro Bowl cornerback Johnathan Joseph, free safety Danieal Manning and fullback Lawrence Vickers.
If the 2012 free agency period ended today, the Texans would be in line for a nice bounty of compensatory picks in 2013. Linebacker Mario Williams, guard Mike Brisiel, tight end Joel Dreessen and cornerback Jason Allen — all starters or key contributors — have signed elsewhere this offseason, and the Texans have yet to sign any free agents from other clubs.
The Texans have eight picks, including two fourth-rounders, in this year’s draft, which goes from April 26-28.
Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Danieal Manning, Free agency, Johnathan Joseph, Lawrence Vickers
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Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports KRIV said Dreessen told him in a text message Friday morning that he’s going to Denver. Dreessen was said to be deciding between the Broncos and Texans on Thursday night. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says the Texans “came on strong” before Dreessen made his decision.
Dreessen is from Fort Morgan, Colo., and played at Colorado State. He’ll have a chance to start for the Broncos and play with Peyton Manning.
A six-year veteran, Dreessen led the Texans with six touchdown catches in 2011. The Texans signed him in 2007 after he was cut by the New York Jets and out of football in 2006. He started off as a core special teams player and became a valuable complement to Owen Daniels as a strong blocker and one of the Texans’ most dependable receivers.
Dreessen’s departure could create an opportunity for Garrett Graham, a fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2010 who has played sparingly in his first two seasons. Fullback James Casey also could play tight end, his primary position from 2009-10, or the Texans could look to add a tight end in the draft or free agency.
Tags: Free agency, Garrett Graham, James Casey, Joel Dreessen, Owen Daniels
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Texans general manager Rick Smith traded a sixth-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos for Chris Myers in 2008. He was the Broncos’ assistant general manager when they drafted Myers in the sixth round out of Miami in 2005.
In 10 seasons with the Broncos from 1996-2005, Smith saw first-hand the importance of Pro Bowl center Tom Nalen to Denver’s dominant running game. Myers, who made his first Pro Bowl in 2011, has taken on a similarly vital role in Houston.
“He’s been a tremendous leader,” Smith told Texans TV on Saturday as Myers re-signed with the Texans as an unrestricted free agent. “To get him back in the fold and to have him anchor our line for years to come, it’s an exciting day for us.”
Heading into free agency, the Texans’ primary focus was on re-signing their own players. They lost linebacker Mario Williams and guard Mike Brisiel to other teams, but they have re-signed both of their free agents who were Pro Bowlers last season, Myers and running back Arian Foster.
“We want to be a balanced offensive football team, and this gives us the ability, we hope, to continue to have an outstanding running game,” Smith said. “Chris really is the beginning of everything that we do up front with respect to making line calls, to making sure that everybody’s coordinated, and so this is a very important piece to what we do. And obviously, [with] Arian’s ability to make plays with the football in his hand, it was important for us to get that deal done. I can’t speak more highly of how he has handled himself, and obviously the production that he has on the football field and what he means to our team. So to have both of those pieces in back place right now feels real good for us as we continue to move forward and go reach our goals.”
As the Texans move forward, Smith’s preferred method of assembling the roster will continue to be through the draft. The Texans have been quiet in free agency so far aside from the Myers and Foster moves.
“We’ve talked many, many times about the fact that we build through the draft and we supplement through free agency,” Smith said. “Now, you think back to last year, we did make a splash first day. We went out and signed Johnathan Joseph and turned right around that day and signed Danieal Manning, and those moves were good for us… We were fortunate in the draft last year as well to get some players that were able to come in and help us. But we primarily want to build through the draft and then take care of our players like an Arian, like a Chris Myers, and so that’s the way that we’re building this thing.”
Tags: Arian Foster, Chris Myers, Free agency, Rick Smith
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