Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Smith increases Texans' interior options
By Paul Kuharsky
Options on the interior offensive line rated as a big need for the Texans heading into the offseason, and they landed one Wednesday with Wade Smith, the free agent from Kansas City.
Smith agreed to a four-year, $12 million deal, according to a source, that has $6.25 million in guarantees.
A big part of Houston’s offensive troubles last year were related to the interior line, where starting guard Chester Pitts and Mike Brisiel went down early with season-ending injuries. Kasey Studdard and Chris White were less than stellar as fill-ins.
Pitts is unrestricted and unlikely to return, and now Smith will jostle with the rest of that group and last year's offensive line pick, Antoine Caldwell, who backed up center Chris White, for a role. I’d expect they expect Smith's an upgrade who will start. And while they could take another interior lineman in the draft, it shouldn't be a spot they prioritize ahead of cornerback, free safety or running back.
Here’s Scouts Inc.’s review of Smith, which makes him sound very much like a guy that fits what the Texans like to do up front:
Smith had been pretty much a career backup up until he started seven games in 2008. He is athletic with good short-area quickness, agility, balance and body control. His most glaring weakness is his inability to stop powerful bull rushers on the inside. He understands angles and can react to movement and adjust to counter moves. He is more of a finesse blocker than a road-grader. He gives the Chiefs solid depth in that he can back up multiple positions.