Eric Winston #73, Mike Brisiel #65 and Duane Brown #76 of the Houston Texans look on
The Houston Texans cut two players on Monday that the Raiders may have some interest in signing. First it was revealed that they let go of outstanding right tackle Eric Winston. Then a bit later, it was backup QB Matt Leinart who received his walking papers. Bother players could receive interest from the Raiders.
Eric Winston has been a stalwart right tackle with the Texans since he was drafted in the third round of the 2006 draft. He started seven games as a rookie and has played in and started every single game for the follow five seasons. His release was extremely surprising especially considering his salary cap hit was a manageable $5.5 million for the Texans.
Winston performed considerably well in the Texans zone blocking scheme as well as protecting the edge of the line for Matt Schaub who developed into a Pro Bowl quarterback with the help of Winston's protection. Not to mention Arian Foster running for over 2800 yards with two Pro Bowls and first team All Pro the past two seasons behind that strong athletic Texans line.
Leinart is an interesting case. Al Davis was known for liking his USC products. But he passed on Leinart in the draft to take Michael Huff when the Raiders were in need of a quarterback at the time. He passed on him again when the Cardinals released him.
Raiders offensive coordinator, Greg Knapp, was Leinart's quarterbacks coach with the Texans last season so there is the connection there. However, this smells a lot like the Kyle Boller signing. Former high drafted QB who busted out with his former team and came to the Raiders due to his connection with a current coach (Hue Jackson). That didn't turn out well.
But there isn't just the Greg Knapp or USC connection. There is the Carson Palmer connection. Leinart redshirted for the Trojans when Carson Palmer was the starting QB. Then the next season Leinart was Palmer's backup as he had his Heisman Trophy winning season of 2002. Leinart went on to win a Heisman of his own a few years later.
You can add Leinart and Winston to the list of former Texans of whom the Raiders could show interest. The team would undoubtedly love to be able to sign unrestricted free agent center Chris Myers along with his linemate Mike Brisiel. Winston, Myers and Brisiel made up the entire right side of the Houston Texans offensive line last season.
Greg Knapp has brought the same zone blocking scheme back to the Raiders that he ran in 2007-08 and you can bet he would love to have that tandem of ZBS proven linemen in Oakland. And having Leinart on board as a QB who he is familiar with could be nice as well.
Although, with a limited amount of cap space for the Raiders and the focus being on the defense, there is little chance at making a run for all of them. And let's not even talk about the huge prohibitive contract Mario Williams will command.