- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- With 3-4s gaining momentum around the league, Connor Barwin would be a hot commodity on the free-agent market.
The Texans are talking contract with him a bit now, and would be wise to lock him up a year in advance of his contract running out. If there is no deal by the time the opener arrives, things will be put on pause until the season ends. The team doesn’t negotiate during the season.
Barwin said he’s hopeful something will happen, but will be fine if it does not.
In the meantime, the high-effort outside linebacker knows he can’t let up for a second as he looks to build on an 11.5-sack season.
“We understand what we can do,” he said. “I think it’s a really mature group of guys that want to get better. Just look at my position. I almost hate Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus, because you can’t even take a day off here and be lazy because those guys are going to practice too hard and you’ll look bad on tape.
“There is a lot of competition out here just at my position, I think at every position. I think that’s what Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak want and it’s going to allow us to get better.”
I've said I think the Texans desperately need to lock up either Barwin or left tackle Duane Brown before the season. Because having one of them plus quarterback Matt Schaub heading for free agency after the season will still put them in scary territory.
If all three have expiring contracts, they could really be at risk.