The NFL league year doesn’t start until March 12 at 3 p.m., central, and negotiations with unrestricted free agents can begin March 9.

So it’s not terribly surprising that the Texans haven’t begun serious contract discussions yet with guy they’d like to bring back.

“Not necessarily started the negotiations,” Texans general manager Rick Smith said Saturday, before he was honored at the Charlie Ward Tribute to Excellence event. “Obviously we’re in touch with all the agents and those guys know our intent is that we want to keep the players that are free agents. Those conversations will continue in Indianapolis and will continue after the combine as well.”

The Texans have 19 players who will become unrestricted free agents unless they are re-signed or tagged before the league year expires. The franchising period began today. Houston can negotiate with players currently under contract with the Texans at any time. The March 9 designation is only for negotiating with players under contract with other teams.