Texans, DE Jonathan Greenard Exploring Deal

Although Danielle Hunter might be the top edge rusher headed to free agency, this year’s batch of UFA-to-be defensive ends features some younger options with upside. Though, this crop carries some uncertainty as well.

With the cap spiking to $255.4MM, however, two of the second-contract-seeking DEs — Jonathan Greenard and Bryce Huff — are probably in great shape. That will put their current teams to the test. Regarding Greenard, the Texans may need to prepare an offer worth more than $20MM per year to retain him.

Greenard’s price tag is set to climb past $17MM per year, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, who adds it might take more than $22MM per annum to sign the former third-round pick. Mutual interest exists between the parties, and Wilson indicates the sides are now motivated to hammer out a deal. They are exploring if a new agreement is possible. Considering the Texans’ $67.3MM in cap space (as of Wednesday morning), it is. Of course, it will be on the team to determine if Greenard is worth this price.

Will Anderson won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, but Greenard led the team in sacks by a wide margin. Greenard notched 12.5 sacks and 22 QB hits last season. Greenard’s 32 pressures tied for 20th in the NFL. The former Louisville and Florida pass rusher, who is going into his age-27 season, also tallied eight sacks for a lower-profile Texans team in 2021.

JG did a good job for us,” DeMeco Ryans said. “He was very productive; his play was physical. He did the things we asked him to do. We’ll see where free agency plays out, but we love JG. We loved what he did for us this year.”

It would seem a franchise tag could be in play, though the cap spike leaves that number at $21.3MM. Wilson does not mention the possibility the tag will be used to keep Greenard off the market, but the Texans do have cap space and a uniquely structured payroll presently. Beyond the offensive line and a midlevel Maliek Collins deal, the Texans do not really have much allocated to the other positions on their roster. This opens the door to some interesting possibilities for a team that will build around the rookie contracts of Anderson and C.J. Stroud.

After two lean years and a surprising playoff season, the Texans will enter a new phase of Nick Caserio‘s rebuild. This will mark the first offseason bringing expectations; it will be interesting to see if the team is ready to spend to load up the roster around Stroud. The Greenard decision will be a key component in this upcoming chapter.

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