The Houston Texans have often impressed in August and September only to let down in December and January. The team sprang into existence in 2002 as an expansion franchise but it took until 2009 for them to have a winning season and until 2011 to make the playoffs. They are yet to progress beyond the divisional round of the playoffs, but there is a sense that they are on the verge of taking the next step.
The Texans defense is a quarterbacks worst nightmare with several terrific pass rushers including the generational talent of JJ Watt, while on offense the Texans have the safest hands in football in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and exciting young quarterback Deshaun Watson. In 2018 the Texans went 11-5 to claim their fifth division title, but they failed to win a playoff game, losing at home in rather miserable fashion to the Indianapolis Colts.
In Madden 19 you still have a chance to take the Texans to Super Bowl LIII thanks to Franchise Mode. The Texans have an 82 overall rating when you start with them in Franchise Mode. This is made up of an 81 rated offense and an 89 rated defense. These are pretty solid ratings, not at the top of Madden 19 by any means, but that defensive score is especially strong and can be the foundation for you to bring a Super Bowl back to Houston, as long as you can maintain and improve on the roster.
Houston Texans Salary Cap
If you start your Franchise Mode in the preseason, which you should, then Houston has 61 players on its roster and $34.2 million in cap space. That isn’t a lot but it will increase as you cut down to the regular season roster limit of 53. There are 19 players you can cut without any cap penalty and you can also make some big savings by moving on from players like Kevin Johnson ($4.65 million), and Demaryius Thomas ($8.79 million) though you will incur penalties onto your 2019 cap, which isn’t advisable just yet.
The Texans cap is in a reasonably healthy place, but they do have some big names that are coming up to free agency.
Houston Texans Impending Free Agents
Houston has 22 players entering the last year of their contract. The biggest priority when it comes to re-signing players is outside linebacker and former #1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. At just 25 and with a 91 OVR Clowney is one of the best edge defenders in Madden 19. Re-signing him won’t be cheap, but it is important to maintaining the quality of the Texans defensive front.
After you get Clowney’s new deal inked, you should turn to Tyrann Mathieu. The strong safety has an 89 OVR and is still only 26. He is your firefighter in the secondary, capable of playing both man and zone coverage very well he can basically take away any part of the field you ask him to.
After those two there won’t be much cap space left, but whatever is left should be thrown into the cornerback position. Three of Houston’s top 5 corners are impending free agents and you should try to retain Kayvon Webster at least.
Other key impending free agents: Kareem Jackson (CB), Ka’imi Fairbairn (K), Christian Covington (DE)
Houston Texans Roster Needs
The Houston Texans skill positions on offense are pretty strong, but their offensive line is a mess. Their tackles are particularly weak, with both starters having just a 69 OVR. This is desperately poor and needs to be addressed immediately. Given the need to spend your available cap space on Clowney & Mathieu there is little room to make a trade or a big splash in free agency, so the draft is your best opportunity to find a new offensive tackle. I rarely recommend drafting strictly for need, but in this case the Texans’ situation is so bad that passing up a quality player elsewhere for a solid tackle prospect is a reasonable course of action. You should aim to improve your whole offensive line as quickly as possible, as it is overall the biggest weakness of the team.
Elsewhere, linebacker should be the next thing on your list. You may have to wait until after season 2 to truly address this position, but you should at least try to find a young, athletic, linebacker somewhere in the draft to plug into your rotation and train up. The current starters of Benardrick McKinney & Zach Cunningham are fine, but only that. They lack the ability to play in coverage consistently and are not great players for user control. Some defensive line depth, particularly at defensive tackle, would also be welcome.
The Houston Texans are the kind of team you can do well with in Madden 19 if you are able to work around their flaws. They have an amazing pass rush, a mobile young quarterback, and some excellent skill position players. You can score points with them if you can work within the limitations of your protection, and you can crush opposing passers. Their path to a Super Bowl is actually smoother in Madden 19 than it is in the NFL, so if you want to watch the Texans lift a Lombardi Trophy then making the suggested improvements within Franchise Mode is your best bet.