Each day from now until March 7, the day before teams can talk to agents for free agents, Geoff Mosher and Reuben Frank will profile some of the NFL’s top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Eagles.
Lamarr Houston, defensive end
Last team: Oakland Raiders
The Raiders would be crazy to let Houston, a 2009 second-round pick (44th overall) from Texas, walk. He was their best defensive linemen and gets better every year. He’s played in all 64 games and started 59 of them. He has 16.5 sacks in four years and comes off his best season, with six sacks as an end in the Raiders’ multiple front. Houston also has four career forced fumbles and an interception. Houston rated as the 11th best 4-3 defensive end, fifth-best against the run. He made $630,000 last year in base salary.
I probably sound like a broken record with these free agents, but Houston is like most of them -- a young, rising, promising prospect who mostly likely will be tagged or signed to a long-term deal before hitting free agency or just too rich for the Eagles’ blood. I’d have no objection to the Eagles' signing Houston, but there will probably be too many bidders and inflated price tag if he hits the open market. Would he be an upgrade over Cedric Thornton? Probably. He’s an improving pass rusher and very good against the run. But he’s not an upgrade enough to spend millions on and stunt Thornton’s development. In the end, it’ll be Thornton, Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan.
Houston is one of those very good young players that a lot of people don’t know about because he’s spent his entire career on awful teams. Too early to tell what the Raiders plan to do with Houston or what kind of deal he’d be looking for on the open market, but there’s no reason the Eagles shouldn’t at least reach out to his agent and see what kind of deal it would take to bring him to Philly. Houston is just 26 years old, he’s never missed a game, he’s been consistently productive both against the run and rushing the quarterback and he’s athletic enough to be equally comfortable in a 3-4 as a 4-3. He did have a DUI in college, so there’s that, but no known issues since. If Houston hits free agency, I’d definitely be interested.