Houston Texans Free Agency Week 1 Review

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It’s an all-important offseason for the Houston Texans as they took a big step last season. Despite losing Jadeveon Clowney to a trade and J.J. Watt to injury, the team still made the divisional round in the playoffs. Houston was in need of key pieces to their secondary to stay in the Super Bowl hunt. Head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien did a little more than that in week one of free agency. Here are the key moves they made in the 2020 NFL offseason so far.

Texans Trade DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for David Johnson

The move still has too many people scratching their heads and trying to understand what happened. O’Brien decided to trade All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals. In exchange, Houston would get running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round and 2021 fourth-round pick in the draft.

The key piece to this trade that has all Texan fans upset is the draft pick. It’s once again another trade O’Brien made that didn’t get the picks they should have gotten. Clowney was traded to two average players and a third-round pick. A player of Clowney’s talent is worth a first-round pick. So is Hopkins. The team traded two first-round picks for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills. So why couldn’t they get two for Clowney and Hopkins?

Another key part of the trade is David Johnson. The versatile back has the ability to be a weapon out of the backfield and in the passing game. Johnson’s issues come from durability and lack of production. Houston has a good running back group which Johnson should lead the ground attack. If he can stay healthy, it’s not the worst move ever. But if Johnson’s durability doesn’t get better, Houston wasted picks on him and that won’t leave fans happy.

Receiver Randall Cobb Agreed on Three-Year, $27 Million with Texans

So meet DeAndre Hopkins’ replacement? Randall Cobb played only one season with Dallas posting his best numbers since 2015. He’s not known for being a dynamic receiver as he’s only recorded one season of over 1,000 yards receiving. Cobb has good hands who could make for a reliable third-down receiver for Deshaun Watson. He has big shoes to fill with Hopkins gone, but with Cobb, Kenny Stills, and Will Fuller, the receiver group is still good.

Texans Sign Several in the Secondary

The most important move for the Texans in terms of the secondary is bringing back Bradley Roby on a three-year deal. He turned out to be the Texans’ best corner with two interceptions in ten games played. The issue lies with him just playing ten games and missing time. Roby will need to be relied on to start on a consistent basis since he goes into the season as the team’s best cornerback.

Houston did also bring in two more cornerbacks to help in the secondary. Vernon Hargreaves returns to the team after starting two games with the Texans last season. He’s a reliable starter that can step when needed to. His familiarity with the defense should help him be a key player at corner. Phillip Gaines was also brought back after being on injured reserve last season for Houston. While not a shutdown corner, Phillips brings experience and depth to the position that needs it after the number of injuries they had.

Eric Murray and Jaylen Watkins were signed to compete at the safety position. Murray has plenty of playing experience in Kansas City and Cleveland. He’s a solid tackler who should step in to help being just 26 years old. Watkins has been a career backup defensive back who brings a veteran presence to the defense. With only the ACL injury from 2018 a concern, Watkins won a Super Bowl with the Eagles and knows what a winning team looks like.

Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn Returns on Four-Year Deal

Houston brings back their all reliable kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn to the team for four more seasons. Fairbairn has converted on almost 84 percent of his field goals in three seasons with the team. While he needs to get better on kicks over 50 yards plus, he’s still one of the more accurate kickers in the league which landed him a new deal with job security.

Veteran Tight End Darren Fells Resigns with Texans

A quarterback’s best friend is the reliable tight end. Darren Fells agreed to resign with the Texans on a two-year deal. The 33-year-old veteran had a career season with the Texans recording 341 yards and seven touchdowns with the team. With Hopkins no longer on the team, Watson needs players he can trust and Fells is on that list.

Backup Quarterback A.J. McCarron Returns on One-Year Deal

A.J. McCarron resigned with the Texans to be Watson’s backup quarterback on a one-year deal. McCarron started the final game of the season with the team where he threw for 225 yards and added a rushing touchdown in a loss to Tennessee. This was an easy decision for the team to bring him back as he’s a good backup to have and knows the offense. Houston has a safe choice in a backup should Watson get hurt.

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XFL, Dallas Renegades, and Houston Texans writer for Overtime Heroics. Also contributes to NFL, XFL, and arena football news for XFL Board, Infinity Sports Network, Arena Football Talk, Prime Time Sports Talk, and Eagles Nation.