HOUSTON — The Houston Texans are working to finalize deals with veteran defensive tackle Maliek Collins and cornerback Desmond King ahead of the NFL free agency period opening on Wednesday. They are also expected to retain safety Terrence Brooks, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
The Texans have held discussions with linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and defensive end Jacob Martin with no deals imminent at this time, according to sources. The Texans have re-signed blocking tight end Antony Auclair, according to a source.
What Maliek Collins’ signing means for the Texans
The Texans are intent on bringing Collins back. Signed to a one-year, $5 million contract last offseason, Collins emerged as a key figure on Houston’s defensive line. The former Dallas Cowboys starter regularly penetrated the backfield and made a lot of plays. He recorded a career-high 29 tackles (9 for loss), 7 quarterback hits, and 2.5 sacks, revitalizing his career after a down year with the Las Vegas Raiders two seasons ago.
Having an athletic, strong 3-technique defensive tackle is a critical element of any Lovie Smith defense. And Collins is regarded as a pivotal part of his traditional 4-3 scheme.
“You look at some of the things that Maliek was able to do, he’s an excellent football player,” said Smith, the Texans’ coach who was promoted from the associate head coach and defensive coordinator and still runs the defense. “He fits the profile. He’s athletic. And I’ll talk about the engine, the brain trust of the defense, but if you say one position where it all starts, it’s our three-technique, under tackle position.
“So, if we can get Maliek back, most of these guys we’re talking about, they know how we feel about them. I think Maliek was just at the tip of the iceberg on what we can be. There’s so much more that he’ll be able to do going forward.”
Desmond King is a good fit for Lovie Smith’s scheme
King was shifted from his typical slot role to outside corner in 2021. However, he could return to the more natural nickel spot this season if he works out his contract. Additionally, King could operate as a kick returner. He is well-suited for Smith’s trademark Cover 2 scheme and intercepted 3 passes last year.
The former Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro selection and Iowa standout has 7 career interceptions. He has also played for the Tennessee Titans and joined the Texans on a one-year, $5 million contract last year.