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Saturday, February 28, 2009
Texans land Smith to bookend with Williams

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

The Texans have landed their primary target on the defensive line in free agency, former Cardinals end Antonio Smith. ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton reports it is a five-year, $35 million contract that will pay Smith $15.5 million in the first year, $19.4 million through the first two years and $24 million through the first three.

Houston's top goal in the offseason was to upgrade opposite Mario Williams, and the Texans cut unproductive Anthony Weaver before free agency opened.

Smith finished strong and is regarded by many as an improving and solid all-around end who can hold up well against the run with his size -- 6-foot-4, 285 pounds. Paired with the 6-6, 286 Williams, the Texans will bring a lot of size on the outside.

How effective Smith will be at rushing the passer remains to be seen. He has 14.5 sacks in 62 career games, and took down the quarterback once in each of the Cardinals first two playoff games en route to the Super Bowl.

I expect the Texans think he will be a more productive pass rusher working with Williams, especially if the team adds to the interior defensive line as well.