So I checked in with Joe Panos, Brooks' agent, and that's exactly the sense he got.
"I met with Houston and they most definitely said he was a priority," Panos said. "In the next couple days we'll trade proposals."
The sides haven't gotten to the point where they trade numbers yet, but it isn't just Panos saying the Texans want Brooks back.
"I think you can look through the balance of our roster and see that our good, young football players are guys that we try to extend," general manager Rick Smith said on Thursday. "And certainly Brandon is one of those guys and is a key cog in our offensive line and we would love to have him back."
Brooks is one of two Texans offensive linemen who could hit free agency this year. Center Ben Jones is the other. I had wondered if the Texans would be able to keep both, and initially thought they might prioritize Jones over Brooks. That wasn't because of the quality of play, but rather ancillary factors at both positions.
Jones' knowledge of the offense was critical for the Texans in helping them weather four starting quarterbacks to make it to the playoffs. Brooks will be the more expensive of the two, which I thought could factor into the team's decision-making as well.
It appears the Texans are serious about keeping Brooks in the fold.
The Texans have the salary cap space to give Brooks a competitive enough offer that he won't turn to the open market. It could happen like last year's re-signing of cornerback Kareem Jackson, though. Jackson hit the market just long enough to get the right deal from the Texans and then returned to the fold.
And while Brooks is the priority, there's no reason to think the Texans can't bring back both Brooks and Jones. They have about $30 million in salary cap space and will likely be making some cuts that will increase that number.
Two who will almost certainly be gone are safety Rahim Moore and tight end Garrett Graham, who were inactive for about half the season. That would give the Texans an additional $5 million in salary cap space. If the Texans choose to part ways with quarterback Brian Hoyer, they'll save about another $5 million in cap space.