[UPDATE (6:23 p.m.): Click here for a follow-up to this post from Friday afternoon.]
Free agency began today at 12:01 ET (techincially, yesterday at 11:01 p.m. in Houston). I wrote about five things to watch for in free agency on Thursday, and there's already a ton of chatter about the Texans' unrestricted free agents this morning.
None of these reports have been confirmed by the team, but let's get right to the news:
Turk re-signs?KRIV-TV's Mark Berman first reported early this morning (6:34 a.m. CT) that the Texans have re-signed punter Matt Turk to a one-year deal, a report corroborated by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle later in the morning. At the ripe age of 41, Turk is coming off the best season of his career and the best season for a punter in Texans history.
There has been no announcement from the team on Turk.
Walter rumorsThe Texans want Kevin Walter back, but no deal was agreed upon with him before the start of free agency. He's been a valuable No. 2 receiver, and that's being reflected in the buzz that Walter is creating around the league and Internet this morning.
There's all kinds of speculation linking Walter to the Baltimore Ravens. Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, who covers the Ravens, says that the team "may make a run at Walter" and that "there is legitimate interest," although he also says no deal is in the works at this point. Wilson also lists the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars as other teams who may be interested in Walter.
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated predicted on Wednesday that Walter will sign with the Ravens, and he wrote this morning that he's [feeling good about that prediction](http:// http//sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/donbanks/03/05/midnight.madness/index.html?xid=sinfl#ixzz0hIe8RaSk). "While the Ravens have some limited interest in Terrell Owens, they have been focusing steadily on Walter for weeks," Banks said, adding that Walter is a "clear priority" for Baltimore.
Banks' colleague Peter King tweeted that the Ravens are focusing on Walter and Anquan Boldin as wide receiver targets.
[UPDATE (3:02 p.m. CT): ESPN insider Adam Schefter just tweeted that the Cardinals are closing in on a deal to trade Boldin, and that the leading contender for him is Baltimore. Which, presumably, would remove Baltimore from the Kevin Walter Sweepstakes, if the deal goes through. Schefter also mentions Kansas City as a possible landing spot for Boldin.]
Several league observers also are expecting the Cincinnati Bengals, Walter's former team, to pursue him. Yesterday, the Cincinnati Enquirer speculated that Walter [could be the Bengals' "likeliest target"](http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100304/SPT02/303040058/Bengals release WR Coles) to replace Laveraneus Coles, who was released on Thursday.
As pointed out by Texans Examiner Alan Burge, the St. Petersburg Times says that Tampa Bay is one of several teams interested in Walter. The report also lists the Ravens, Bears, Patriots and Jaguars as potential suitors.
Tidbits on PittsGuard Chester Pitts started every game in Texans history before his 2009 season ended in Week 2 with a knee injury. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle thinks that Pitts won't be back in Houston because he says the Texans' "coaches love Kasey Studdard at LG." Studdard started the final 14 games of the '09 season in Pitts' absence.
Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post says that Pitts is drawing interest from the Texans, as well as the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions.
It looks like Dunta Robinson, whom the Texans have decided to let walk in free agency, is close to signing with the Atlanta Falcons. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that Robinson is set to meet with the Falcons this morning and is expected to sign with the team.
Robinson is a native of Athens, Ga., and the Falcons need cornerback help. This would be a great fit for him if he does end up signing on the dotted line.
John McClain expects the Texans to look at Leigh Bodden, an unrestricted free agent corner from the Patriots, though he thinks the Texans "won't break the bank" and that Bodden "won't come to Houston without being a starter."
Big-name backsThere are some big-name running backs on the market, including LaDanian Tomlinson, Thomas Jones and Chester Taylor. I wrote about that subject yesterday in my five things to watch piece for HT.com.
John McClain insists that the Texans are not interested in a high-priced older free agent back. I've lost track of how many times I've seen McClain report that very same thing over the last two weeks, then see another report come out linking the Texans to a big-name back, then see McClain vehemently refute it yet again.
Looking aheadFree agency is an exciting-but-nerve-wracking time of year, isn't it? We'll continue to closely follow the latest news, and as soon as anything becomes official, you'll see it right away on HoustonTexans.com.