John McClain is reporting that the Texans have opened up talks with their free-agents-to-be, most notably Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach. Texans GM Rick Smith and Leach’s agent Ralph Vitolo reportedly exchanged figures at the NFL combine this week.
Time is not on the Texans side here: they have roughly 48 hours before March 3 strikes and the new league year goes into effect, and with that new year, likely a lockout as well. McClain mentions that the Texans are exchanging figures with quite a few of their players who could hit free agency as well, but doesn’t go into who else, specifically, the Texans might be looking to sign by Friday.
Leach is in line for a pretty good chunk of change after having a big bounceback from his sub-par 2009 season. The Texans do have to be a little careful though, as fullbacks aren’t exactly noted for their longevity, and Leach is already 29. That probably portends one of those “long-term deals” in NFL parlance that actually have a decent chunk of change in the signing bonus and a large roster bonus after Year 1 or 2 that the player will be released before he gets handed.
Assuming the return of a salary cap, the Texans will have roughly $30 million to work with this offseason.