Texans fans continue to have their prayers answered. In a trade earlier this week, Houston acquired a former super bowl champion to fill one of its most significant needs: right guard Shaq Mason from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Did The Texans Pull Off The Offseason’s Best Trade?
After making this move, Texans’ General Manager Nick Caserio looks like a genius. Houston was able to send just a sixth-round pick to Tampa Bay for a seventh-round pick, and of course, veteran guard, Shaq Mason. Essentially, by simply swapping late-round draft picks with the Buccaneers the Texans were able to fill the weakest position on their offensive line with one of the best in the business.
Mason has spent most of his career protecting the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. He spent his first seven seasons in New England where he helped lead an underrated offensive line unit to two Super Bowl victories. During the later part of his tenure with the Patriots, he provided a clean pocket for young quarterback Mac Jones. Fast forward to 2022, and Mason was back to protecting Brady, this time as a member of the Buccaneers. The elite guard arguably had the best year of his career last season, starting all 17 games, and allowing zero sacks, two-run stuffs, and only a singular penalty against him.
Now, Mason will be tasked with protecting the rookie quarterback the Texans are likely to draft with their first-round selection. Additionally, his impressive ability as a run blocker will help pave the way for first-year standout, Dameon Pierce, at running back. The fact that Houston was so easily able to acquire a desperately needed piece for their offense, at almost no cost, is why they are clear winners in this trade.
Are The Texans’ Offensive Line Woes Finally Over?
The offensive line has been an unresolved issue for the Texans since the inception of the franchise over 20 years ago. However, with the addition of Mason, this is the best Houston’s front five has looked in years. Not only is Mason himself talented, but his veteran presence will help aid the development of rapidly improving right tackle, Tytus Howard. A 2019 first-round draft pick, Howard finally put together a fully healthy season last year and looked almost as good as his counterpart at tackle, all-pro Larmey Tunsil. With Mason and Howard leading the way, the right side of the Texans’ line will be a force to be reckoned with.
Speaking of Tunsil, trade rumors have swirled around the 28-year-old left tackle, with Kansas City being the primary target. However, with the Chiefs signing Jawaan Taylor to fill their void at the tackle position, it appears Tunsil is safe in Houston. Besides, it would make no sense for the Texans to trade their starting left tackle when their main priority should be protecting their future signal caller. Instead of a trade, expect a contract extension soon for the best player on the Texans’ offense.
With Mason, Howard, and Tunsil firmly in place, Houston has a strong core making up its offensive line. The biggest hole that remains is at center, which Nick Caserio will likely address in the draft with no viable options remaining in free agency. If the Texans are able to develop this rookie into a stud, they will have quickly turned around their line into one of the more formidable units in the league. And, it all starts up front, meaning a complete offensive turnaround could be quick to follow for one of the worst teams in the NFL. Consider the Shaq Mason trade the first step in making this change a reality.