Good morning, March 9, 2017. Later today, the NFL begins its latest fiscal year. Yes, there is still time for teams to re-sign prospective unrestricted Free Agents before the 4 p.m. ET deadline. That’s when free agency begins. We have already seen a number of franchises “agree to terms” with veterans. But nothing becomes official until later this afternoon.

This past season, the Houston Texans overcame to early-season loss of three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and the erratic play of quarterback Brock Osweiler to win the AFC South for the second consecutive season.

The team also won a playoff game and have the look of a team that is maybe a few key pieces away from making some serious noise in the conference. So who do the Texans need to Bring back and which player will hit the open market? Time is running out…kind of.

Bring him back

No team in the NFL gave up fewer total yards than the Houston Texans in 2016. And that was with Watt missing the final 13 games of the season. And only the Denver Broncos gave up fewer passing yards per contest. Bill O’Brien’s team produced 31 sacks but allowed only 20 touchdown passes. Most of the heat came from outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (7.5) and versatile Jadeveon Clowney (6). But there was also outstanding coverage from unsung cornerback A.J.

Bouye. He was one of the highest-graded players at his position in the league according to Pro Football Focus. The Texans also have defensive standouts such as safety Quintin Demps and outside linebacker John Simon that could become free agents. But Bouye figures to be their first priority.

Let him go

With Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, Akeem Hunt and promising Tyler Ervin, the Houston Texans are loaded at the running back position.

The team finished eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game, with Miller racking up 1,073 yards and five touchdowns. Jonathan Grimes totaled 23 carries for 105 yards and zero touchdowns, plus caught 13 passes for 94 yards. Simply put, it’s a very crowded backfield when it comes to this club.