An interesting NFL rumor surfaced this morning on the excellent National Football Post's Sunday Blitz. According to NFP writer Dan Pompei, the Texans were planning to sniff around true 3-4 nose tackle and prospective free agent Paul Soliai:
The Dolphins raised a lot of eyebrows when they put the franchise tag on nose tackle Paul Soliai, guaranteeing him about $12.5 million in 2011. Why did the team step out like that on a player who most fans aren't even aware of? My sources tell me the Dolphins surveyed the free agent field and believed there were no other nose tackles close to Soliai in ability. Given the number of teams playing a 3-4 defense, the Dolphins feared Soliai would be the subject of a bidding war. In fact, there were rumblings that the Redskins and Texans coveted him.
If true, this would certainly signal a monumentally-welcome shift in the way the Texans have projected their feelings about the starting 2011 NT. Soliai is definitely a guy I had my eye on as a possible free agent target for the Texans, but the Dolphins took care of that when they franchise tagged him.
With the, I'm just going to go ahead and call it "disturbing" news that the Texans re-upped on a deal with alleged NT-starter-in-waiting Shaun Cody, we may in fact be in store for what the Texans have been telling us all along. The NT rotation in our "must turn this defense around in one offseason" will consist of Cody as the starter, with 2nd-year player Earl Mitchell as the primary backup.
Face, meet keyboard. *SLAM*
Now, Cody isn't making crazy starter money (two years, $5.75 million), but it certainly seems to be enough to indicate the Texans aren't planning a significant free agent acquisition at the position, and with little-to-no chance that top-end position prospects Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus will still be on the board at #11, I wouldn't expect the Texans will select a NT with either of their first two picks.
Another Texans-related NT article can be found at my other joint.