A look at all 16 Texans free agents

A look at all 16 Texans free agents
January 11, 2014, 4:30 pm
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(Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)

The Texans will have 16 free agents from their 2-14 season in 2013. Here's a look at each of them as we try to figure out who will be back in 2014.

On March 8, teams are allowed to contact players who will be unrestricted free agents. Free agency officially starts on March 11, when teams can begin to sign players.

OFFENSE

Wade Smith
Smith was coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2012 but just wasn't very good in 2013. He dealt with a knee injury he didn't want to talk about but he clearly struggled with it.

Smith will be 33 in April and was already one of the older offensive linemen in the league at the start of last season. The team also has Ben Jones ready to play. There's a really good choice Smith won't be back.

Garrett Graham
Graham is an interesting one. The 28-year-old tight end is coming off his best season and looks like he might be a starter in the NFL. The problem is that Owen Daniels is still on the team making a lot of money.

It's possible the Texans might elect to cut Daniels and sign Graham to a long-term deal. They will have a solid backup either way in Ryan Griffin, who played well as a rookie.

Ben Tate
Tate had a pretty good season, even with four cracked ribs that eventually landed him on IR. He knows it's unlikely he'll be back next season. If he's back, he'll be unhappy because it'll mean he didn't get a big contract.

Greg Jones
Jones came to Houston to be a part of a winner after spending all his seasons with Jacksonville. That didn't work.

Lestar Jean (RFA)
Jean looked great during training camp but it didn't translate into games. He's expendable.

Ryan Harris
Harris is 28 and doesn't have a future in the league as a starter but as a swing tackle backup? He's not bad. The Texans might sign him for cheap.

Deji Karim (RFA)
Karim wasn't bad but he wasn't great either after the Texans signed him during the year. There's a reason he didn't have a team before the Texans called.

Andrew Gardner
He's 28 and couldn't get on the field as Derek Newton struggled. Unlikely he'll be back.

DEFENSE

Antonio Smith
Smith is 32 and one of the leaders of the defense. But did we mention he's 32? The Texans won't be willing to spend a lot of money on him, especially with Romeo Crennel coming in as the defensive coordinator. Smith will find some decent money somewhere but the Ninja stays in Houston. He said he won't take that personality with him.

Darryl Sharpton
Sharpton was finally able to stay relatively healthy this year. No, he wasn't healthy, he was just healthy by his standards. He was great against the run but can't cover. Still, the team will need someone to start next to Brian Cushing inside.

Joe Mays
Without Mays, it's scary to think about how bad the Texans' linebackers would have been in 2013. And even with him, they weren't good. He wants to be back but there aren't any guarantees.

Bryan Braman (RFA)
Braman has been one of the team's better special teams players during his time in Houston but he missed some big plays in 2013. He's a special-teamer and you can find those guys but something tells me Braman will be back.  

Earl Mitchell
Mitchell had a pretty good season in 2013 but didn't get on the field a whole lot. With Crennel as the defensive coordinator, it seems very unlikely Mitchell will be back. He's too small to play NT for Crennel. He would fit better as a DT in a 4-3.

Elbert Mack
Mack was a pretty good special teams player at times. He might get an invite to camp.

Ricky Sapp
Sapp didn't get much playing time but did alright on special teams.

Terrell McClain (RFA)
McClain is restricted and he might be back. He is a tackle but can play as a defensive end and might provide some depth behind J.J. Watt and Jared Crick at the defensive end position.

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