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12 March 2014 Written by  Nicholas A. Norman

A Look into how the Houston Texans can win with Free Agency

The Houston Texans lost their last 14 games in the 2013 NFL season, so it would be nice if they could post a win in free agency. They must certainly have a plan, but their blueprint would more closely resemble one for a treehouse than a penthouse. 

The Texans are expected to sit out the action during the first couple of weeks, when most of the mega-buck talent starts devouring cap space like competitive eater Joey Chestnut goes after Nathan’s hot dogs. There is more to go around this year with the salary cap getting a $10 million hike to a total of $133 million for each club.

Spotrac.com has general manager Rick Smith working with an allowance of $8,995,932 after signing outside linebacker Ricky Sapp to a one-year, $570,000 contract on March 4. That places Houston 26th in cap space, well below the league average of $22.3 million.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans have released cornerback Brice McCain on Tuesday. McCain, 27, signed a three-year contract worth $5.25 million with the Texans last March. Houston should receive close to $850,000 in cap space with this move.

He was rated as the worst qualifying cornerback in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Smith will need some additional room to sign some of his own free agents, perhaps a few off the open market, and definitely their upcoming draft choices. That means some folks who are presently on the roster are soon to become ex-Texans.

The top candidates are quarterback Matt Schaub, tight end Owen Daniels, safety Danieal Manning and slot cornerback Brice McCain. If all of them are released, that would free up $20.3 million. Johnathan Joseph could be asked to agree to an extension that would lighten the load of his $11.25 million paycheck for the year.

The list of unrestricted free agents (UFA) under consideration will start off with the known, those players who were on the squad in 2013. The unknown, possible acquisitions from around the league, will follow for each position group.