Defensive end Jacob Martin, selected by the Seahawks in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, was part of the package received by the Texans in the 2019 trade that sent Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle. Over his three years in Houston, Martin has quietly turned himself into a key component of the club’s defense, and as Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network writes, the Texans are actively discussing a new contract that would keep Martin off the open market when free agency opens this week.
In 2021, the Temple product started 14 games and appeared in 61% of the Texans’ defensive snaps, both of which represented career bests. While he posted only four sacks, his peripherals suggest that there is room for continued growth. As Wilson writes, Next Gen Stats credited Martin with the third-fastest “get-off” among all defensive players, behind only the Chargers’ Joey Bosa and the Steelers’ Alex Highsmith.
Pro Football Focus handed Martin a solid 67.3 overall score last season, which was also a career-high. The strides he has made are thanks in no small part to the fact that he was able to operate as a true 4-3 DE when Lovie Smith took over as defensive coordinator last year. Prior to that, Martin had worked as an outside linebacker in the Texans’ 3-4 scheme, which included pass coverage duties that he struggled to handle. With Smith having earned a promotion to head coach, the 4-3 alignment will remain.
Neither Martin nor fellow DE Jonathan Greenard are household names at this point, but they provide the rebuilding Texans with a young, talented, and fairly inexpensive foundation to build upon. Indeed, assuming Martin and the Texans are able to come to terms on a multi-year deal, it’s unlikely to include an eight-figure AAV, and Greenard has two seasons left on his rookie contract.
In related news, the Texans recently worked out former Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton, as Wilson tweets. Hamilton was officially waived last week, and though the 2018 fourth-rounder was unable to carve out a consistent role in Denver, his size and raw talent figure to get him another opportunity somewhere. It’s unclear if that opportunity will come in Houston, as the Texans re-upped Chris Conley after meeting with Hamilton.