Texans’ Off-Season Movements

Ethan Epley ’16

While many fans see the offseason as a countdown to the next season, it is undoubtedly a critical period for every team. Teams must decide who to franchise tag, who to release, who to resign, and who to pick up. The Houston Texans have made some pretty big moves in the free agency market this offseason already in preparation for next season.

First, the quarterback position finally seems solidified between Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer. According to Bill O’ Brien, the two quarterbacks will both be in contention with Tom Savage to be starters when the season starts. Brian Hoyer was brought in on a two year deal worth $10.5 million with $4.75 million guaranteed. Hoyer’s space was available to him because the Texans traded Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Jets for a late round draft pick. Fitzpatrick did struggle during the 2014-2015 season to consistently play well and periodically surrendered his job to Ryan Mallett. Hopefully, despite Brian Hoyer’s struggles in Cleveland, he can bring the quarterback some stability and talent and lead the Texans toward a playoff run.

Next, the Texans have kept and added some great defensive players to the roster who can help continue the strong defensive showing of last season. Kareem Jackson was retained on a four year, $34 million deal with $20 million guaranteed. The cornerback had three interceptions, nine passes defended, and fifty seven tackles in the 2014-2015 season. As far as new additions go the Texans now have Vince Wilfork (Patriots) and Rahim Moore (Broncos). Wilfork is a seasoned veteran in the NFL, entering his 12th season in the 2015-2016 season. He is also a two time Super Bowl champion who undoubtedly brings valuable experience and leadership to the Texans defense. The nose tackle signed a two year, $9 million deal with $5 million guaranteed. Moore signed a three year deal worth $12 million with $4.5 million guaranteed. The Texans were also able to retain linebacker Akeem Dent on a two year $4.5 million deal.

Offensively, the Texans have made some interesting decisions this offseason. First, the Texans also resigned OT Derek Newton to a 5 year, $26.5 million contract with $10 million guaranteed with $13.75 million in first 2 years and $17 million in first 3 years. Cecil Shorts will also be joining the Texans offense next season on a two year, $6 million deal. However, arguably the most important offseason event was the release of Andre Johnson. Johnson played twelve years with the Texans, having been picked third overall in the 2003 NFL draft. Since then, he has been the player to arguably contribute most to the franchise. With over 13,000 career receiving yards and 64 touchdowns, he holds many of the Texans records and is surely Hall of Fame quality. Johnson was released after he was reportedly unhappy with his role in the team for the next season. He has since signed with the Colts on a three year deal. While it’s hard to see this true legend leave the franchise, both the Texans and Johnson expressed their mutual appreciation for the past twelve years in Houston.

Despite the loss of Andre Johnson, the Texans gained good talent this offseason. After going 9-7 this last season and barely missing out on the playoffs, the Texans will hope to make another push this season with the fresh added talent.