Proposed Trade Would Land 4-Time Pro Bowl CB on Texans

Getty Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio

The Houston Texans bolstered their defensive secondary in free agency and the draft after finishing 23rd in passing yards allowed during the 2023 regular season.

But those additions were insufficient, according to Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay, who proposed a trade in which Houston would land four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2025 draft.

“Houston’s brass is clearly trying to maximize the team’s Super Bowl chances by bringing in pricy pieces the team can only afford while [quarterback C.J.] Stroud is locked into a cheap rookie scale contract,”  Kay wrote in a May 7 story on trades that “should still happen before” the new season.

Lattimore, 27, has played only 17 games over the past two seasons because of injury, but from 2017 to 2021, he was among the best at shutting down opposing wide receivers, with double-digit pass deflections in each of those years and 13 total interceptions.

Last year, he sat out the Saints’ last seven regular-season games due to an ankle injury, but he was impressive enough when he played that Pro Football Focus still gave him respectable grades (64.7 in 2022, 67.4 in 2023) for those injury-shortened seasons.

Trading for Marshon Lattimore Would Come With Health & Financial Risks

GettyFour-Time Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

Getting a player yearning to prove he’s still among the best at his position could benefit the Texans. But while Lattimore remains a high-impact player, he will also come with an expensive price tag.

Lattimore will count for $14.6 million against the Saints’ 2024 salary cap, $31.4 million in 2025, and $28.5 million in 2026, according to Spotrac.

The Texans have $23.1 million of cap space this season, according to Over the Cap. Though it’s enough to absorb Lattimore’s 2024 cap hit, they could be in some financial mess if the veteran cornerback didn’t live up to those annual values.

And there’s the issue of his health. Besides losing time to the 2023 ankle injury, he missed most of 2022 with a lacerated kidney.

The Texans Have Shored Up Their Secondary

GettyFormer NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore

So far this offseason, the Texans have handed out $18 million worth of contracts to free agent cornerbacks Myles Bryant (1 year, $1.75 million), Lonnie Johnson Jr. (1 year, $2.5 million), C.J. Henderson (1 year, $3.25 million), Mike Ford (2 years, $4.5 million) and Jeff Okudah (1 year, $6 million).

The Texans also used one of their second-round picks in the draft to select Kamari Lassiter, a 2023 second-team All-SEC member.

If general manager Nick Caserio isn’t satisfied with the team’s cornerback depth chart, Lattimore wouldn’t be their only option. A handful of available defensive backs could help their cause, starting with Stephon Gilmore.

The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year lined up in 96.1% of the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive snaps last season, earning 68 tackles, 13 passes defended and 2 interceptions. Spotrac estimates his market value with a $9 million annual salary, $1 million lower than his previous average value.

The Texans could also pursue Houston native and two-time All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard expressed his desire to play for the Texans in the March 20 episode of ‘The OGs’ podcast. “I would love to do that. Especially back at home, the crib,” Howard said to hosts Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller.

Furthermore, Howard was willing to take a pay cut to play for a contender like the Texans. He added, “I’d rather take a pay cut to go to a team that’s going to go further in the playoffs. I got my money and stuff like that. I’m to the point, like, ‘How much money do you really need?'”

Other high-profile free-agent cornerbacks include J.C. Jackson, Adoree’ Jackson and Patrick Peterson.

Read More