Glover Quin has been a consistent force at free safety in each of his four years with the Houston Texans, but last season was arguably his best. Playing for his contract, Quin finished with 84 total tackles, 14 passes defended, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a sack. As a secondary, the Texans were 10th in the NFL allowing a 80.6 opponent quarterback rating. Quin clearly played no small part, considering his production.
As a result, Quin was considered a strong candidate for the Texans' franchise tag. The figure would have been relatively cheap. The $6.9 million franchise tag number for safeties sounds like a lot, but it looks a lot better when compared to the more than $10 million cornerbacks will receive. Alas, The Texans apparently didn't consider Quin a strong enough core player, and have let the safety test the the free agency waters.
Quin brings a lot to the position. He made an immediate impact as rookie, despite being selected in the fourth round of the 2009 draft out of New Mexico. That year, his 68 tackles were fourth on the team, albeit well behind the 102 put up by his defensive backfield-mate Bernard Pollard. Quin excelled in coverage, as well, which is unsurprising considering he was a full-time starter at cornerback in college. He is a strong, athletic safety, who is off to a good start on a long starting career, whether that be in Houston or elsewhere.
If not Houston, the loser of the Ed Reed sweepstakes could become an immediate favorite to land Quin. The New England Patriots are constantly looking for secondary help, and it shouldn't be too hard to convince Quin to play for another Super Bowl contender. Ditto the Baltimore Ravens. Quin's physicality could be a great fit in Dean Pees' 3-4 defense. Both teams should have plenty of room to work with under the salary cap.
The Green Bay Packers are also an intriguing name for Quin, who bears at least a faint resemblance to Charles Woodson. Both players started their careers at corner, and both have been lauded for being able to fill a variety of roles, whether as run stopper, pass rusher or center fielder. Perhaps when the Packers released Woodson in February, they did so with their eye on Quin.
Throw in the New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins for good measure, and you have a solid list of quality teams that could come calling should the Texans let their 2009 draft pick walk. Plan A for Quin still seems to be to stay in Houston next season. In Quin's case, however, Plan B could also work out just fine.