Eight NFL teams used the franchise tag by the league deadline at 3 p.m. CT on Monday. The Texans were not one of them.
No Texans players received the franchise or transition tags for the 2013 NFL free agency signing period. Free safety Glover Quin was widely viewed as the most likely Texan to be franchised, but that would have guaranteed him a one-year salary of $6.916 million. The Texans are just $7.6 million under the $123 million salary cap, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
Because the Texans did not tag any of their players, all of their unrestricted free agents will be free to test the open market when free agency begins on March 12. The Texans have publicly identified Quin and outside linebacker Connor Barwin as priorities to re-sign. Nickel cornerback Brice McCain and starting fullback James Casey also will become unrestricted if they don't re-sign before the start of free agency.
Among the Texans' other impending free agents are starting nose tackle Shaun Cody, punter Donnie Jones, inside linebackers Tim Dobbins and Bradie James and running back Justin Forsett.
The only time in their 11-year history that the Texans have used the franchise tag was in 2009, on cornerback Dunta Robinson. Robinson left via free agency to the Atlanta Falcons the following offseason.