One of the other big names on the Oakland Raiders’ roster who will become a free agent this offseason is defensive end Lamarr Houston. He played defensive tackle at University of Texas before he switched to the position of defensive end. During his career at Texas, he started 33 of 50 games, logging 133 tackles and 14 sacks. The Raiders selected him 44th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, making him the 12th pick in the second round.
Houston looks back on that night, recalling that most of his family members surrounding him at the draft were dressed in silver and black and trying hard to control his emotions as he walked out onto the stage to shake Roger Goodell’s hand. Houston’s young career with the Raiders so far has shown him recording 228 tackles, 16 sacks, and four forced fumbles. Raider Nation sits on pins and needles hoping that their team will re-sign the soon to be free agent.
Houston, who logged his team-leading sixth sack against Peyton Manning in the final week of the 2013 season, feels that the Raiders and head coach Dennis Allen may be looking to move on. He was quite productive in the 2013 season and frequently drew the attention of the offensive blockers. Houston and Jared Veldheer are by far the two biggest names on the Raiders’ roster who are headed into free agency in March. It’s still very early on in the offseason and the Raiders still have their franchise tag available but fans are hoping that both players are re-signed.
I have to say that this is one of the harder Raiders players to research. He is very humble and is very focused on the task at hand. A lot of inspirational quotes pepper his Instagram account such as “make more moves and less announcements” which is very indicative of the way he carries himself. His Instagram posts are also littered with pictures of his family and pictures of him working towards becoming a better athlete.
His interactions with the Raider Nation on Twitter consist of retweeting things that he finds interesting. This is a man working toward a goal and limiting distractions in his life. This is commendable and rare to see in an athlete these days. One of the quotes that he has posted on his Instagram states that “who you are as a person is far more important than what you do for a living”. This just gives an inkling of the type of person he is.
Houston has made a huge impact on the Raiders’ defense in the four seasons that he’s been on roster and Raider Nation is calling for him to stay with the Raiders. If only the free agency signings were up to the Nation!
As mentioned previously, the Raiders do have their franchise tag available still. Even though the Raiders have a vast amount of cap space opening up to them in this offseason, it makes sense not to overpay for players as there are so many needs on the team that need to be filled. One option may be to re-sign Veldheer or Houston and then place the franchise tag on the other player. Most fans are just salivating at the cap space available and thinking that the Raiders should just give these players any amount in order to keep them.
While Houston is very much the bright spot of a very beleaguered Oakland defense, throwing inordinate amounts of money at him in order to keep him isn’t in the Raiders’ best interest. This is one of those offseasons where fans can barely tell what the most important position is to fill. There are so many needs on the Raiders’ roster that it makes it hard to pick a starting point.
With so many positions lacking depth and though the Raiders do have the most cap space in the NFL available to them, budgets will need to be minded as we dive into this offseason. Though the Raiders won’t need to be as budget conscious or need to hustle as they did leading into the 2013 season, throwing too much money at players is a concern. March 11th is the start of the free agency this year and it will be interesting to see how general manager Reggie McKenzie and Allen will proceed with the re-signing of Houston along with his teammate Jared Veldheer.