Houston Texans Rumors & News

A. Peterson Interested In Texans, Bucs, Giants

With his tenure in Minnesota potentially set to end this offseason, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson already has a few potential employers on his radar. The seven-time Pro Bowler revealed Thursday on ESPN that he’s interested in the Texans, Buccaneers and Giants.

Adrian Peterson (vertical)

Of course, in order for Peterson to join another team, the Vikings are going to have to part with him first. The soon-to-be 32-year-old stated that he’d like to remain a Viking. That would require a construct restructuring, though, as Peterson’s slated for an $11.75MM salary and $18MM cap number in 2017. Those are each unpalatable figures given his age and injury-truncated 2016, which saw him tear his meniscus in Week 2 and rack up a meager 72 yards on 37 carries.

With a $6MM roster bonus due March 11, an answer on Peterson’s future is coming soon, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Considering Peterson isn’t a fan of going through the offseason program and training camp, he could force his release and sign with a club closer to the start of the regular season, Florio observes.

Of the franchises Peterson is targeting, Houston stands out as the one that clearly isn’t a fit. While the Texans play in Peterson’s home state, they already have a starting running back in Lamar Miller, whom they gave $14MM in guarantees on a four-year, $26MM deal in free agency last winter.

The Bucs also doled out big money to a back a year ago in re-signing Doug Martin, but his future with the team is in question as a result of a late-2016 suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. In addition to costing him one game this season and three in 2017, the ban voided Martin’s $7MM in guarantees for next season. Theoretically, then, Tampa Bay could jettison him for Peterson if it wants.

The Giants, meanwhile, have a slew of rushers, though there might not be a bell cow among them. Paul Perkins, who had a decent rookie year, stands out as the most promising back New York has. Veterans Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen could end up on the chopping block this offseason. Even if they don’t, neither is a No. 1-caliber rusher.

Peterson, on the other hand, is one of the premier backs in NFL history. Although his 2016 was nightmarish, he isn’t far removed from winning the league’s rushing title in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Requested To Interview Romeo Crennel

  • The Redskins expressed interest in meeting with Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel about their DC position, but Washington’s request was denied, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Crennel has since been promoted to assistant head coach, as linebackers coach Mike Vrabel will take over Houston’s coordinator role. Crennel’s contract was set to expire later this month, but the 69-year-old wouldn’t have had any interest in jobs with other clubs.

NFLPA Announces Cap Carryover Amounts

The NFL Players Association has announced all 32 teams’ salary cap carryover amounts for the 2017 season (Twitter link). Next season’s cap figure isn’t yet known, but it’s likely to be in the $165MM range. When that becomes official, it can be added to each team’s carryover amount to determine that club’s official spending room for 2017.

Here are this year’s carryover totals:

  1. Cleveland Browns: $50,123,269
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars: $39,314,310
  3. San Francisco 49ers: $38,708,916
  4. Tennessee Titans: $24,046,522
  5. Washington Redskins: $15,055,131
  6. Carolina Panthers: $13,208,020
  7. Miami Dolphins: $8,363,708
  8. Chicago Bears: $8,103,197
  9. Oakland Raiders: $8,000,000
  10. Green Bay Packers: $7,984,687
  11. Philadelphia Eagles: $7,933,869
  12. Denver Broncos: $7,243,248
  13. Indianapolis Colts: $6,614,106
  14. Cincinnati Bengals: $6,578,866
  15. New Orleans Saints: $5,754,000
  16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $5,330,779
  17. New England Patriots: $5,292,335
  18. Kansas City Chiefs: $5,002,168
  19. Houston Texans: $4,935,924
  20. Detroit Lions: $4,725,644
  21. Arizona Cardinals: $4,405,068
  22. Pittsburgh Steelers: $3,269,367
  23. Buffalo Bills: $2,837,222
  24. Baltimore Ravens: $2,553,126
  25. Dallas Cowboys: $2,401,553
  26. Seattle Seahawks: $2,065,865
  27. New York Giants: $1,800,000
  28. Atlanta Falcons: $926,541
  29. Minnesota Vikings: $400,184
  30. New York Jets: $371,487
  31. Los Angeles Rams: $304,311
  32. Los Angeles Chargers: $113,693

Texans Staff Notes: Crennel, O'Brien, Ryan

  • The Texans retained Romeo Crennel on Wednesday, shifting him from defensive coordinator (Mike Vrabel‘s new role) to assistant head coach. While Crennel’s contract was set to expire later this month, he would not have left Houston for another team this offseason, reports Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Crennel, 69, was either going to remain on head coach Bill O’Brien‘s staff or retire.
  • Speaking of O’Brien, he will not hire an offensive coordinator to replace George Godsey, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). As expected, O’Brien will call the Texans’ offensive plays. He has also moved Sean Ryan from receivers coach to quarterbacks coach.

Texans To Promote Mike Vrabel To DC

The Texans are promoting linebackers coach Mike Vrabel to defensive coordinator, reports Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Predecessor Romeo Crennel will stay on the Texans’ staff and become their assistant head coach.

Mike Vrabel

This is seemingly a boon for Houston, which potentially could have dealt with the departures of both Vrabel and Crennel this offseason. Vrabel drew head coaching interest from the Rams, who instead hired Sean McVay, and both the Chargers and Redskins were eyeing him for their D-coordinator vacancies, according to Breer (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, the soon-to-be 70-year-old Crennel was on an expiring contract prior to Wednesday. Head coach Bill O’Brien made it clear earlier this week that the team didn’t want to lose Crennel.

“Romeo’s done a great job,” O’Brien said Monday. “I know we’d love to have him back. I haven’t sat down with any coaches yet, but I can tell you Romeo’s a great coach. He means a lot to me personally, and we’d love to have Romeo back.”

Crennel had served as the Texans’ defensive coordinator since 2014, and the unit ranked between sixth and eighth in DVOA in each season under his stewardship. Houston also led the NFL in yardage allowed in 2016, which was especially impressive given that superstar end J.J. Watt only played in three games and went on injured reserve in late September. The Crennel-led, Watt-less Texans had other stars emerge, including end Jadeveon Clowney and cornerback A.J. Bouye, while linebacker Whitney Mercilus‘ standout play continued.

Mercilus has worked directly with Vrabel, who was a terrific NFL linebacker in his own right from 1997-2010. Vrabel played under Crennel in both New England and Kansas City during that time, and he then joined him on Houston’s coaching staff in 2014. The two will remain together in 2017, though it’ll be Vrabel manning Crennel’s longtime position. Crennel has been a D-coordinator with four different teams since 2000.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bill O'Brien May Take On Play-Calling Duties

After the Texans parted ways with offensive coordinator George Godsey yesterday, some in league circles believe head coach Bill O’Brien may simply assign himself play-calling duties, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. O’Brien was already leading the Texans’ offense at various points during the season, so a move of this nature wouldn’t be a complete surprise. In such a scenario, Houston would likely reshuffle its offensive staff, including shifting wide receivers coach Sean Ryan to quarterbacks coach, per Wilson.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Likely To Re-Sign Shane Lechler

  • The Texans are likely to re-sign pending free agent punter Shane Lechler to a one-year deal, reports John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Lechler indicated Monday that he’d like to return for what would be his age-41 season in 2017. “Looking forward to next year,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll have me back. I’m ready to go. I feel good. We’ll see how it goes.” After spending the first 13 years of his career in Oakland, where he earned seven Pro Bowl nods and six first-team All-Pro selections, Lechler joined the Texans in 2013. He’s coming off a season in which he finished sixth in the NFL in yards per punt, ninth in kicks inside the 20 and 16th in net yardage.

Texans Hope To Retain Romeo Crennel

With offensive coordinator George Godsey now out of the organization, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is going to have at least one new high-level assistant on his staff next season. He could end up on the search for a defensive coordinator, too, as Romeo Crennel‘s contract is up. Crennel intends to coach again next season at the age of 70, and the Texans want to retain him, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Romeo Crennel

“Romeo’s done a great job,” O’Brien said Monday. “I know we’d love to have him back. I haven’t sat down with any coaches yet, but I can tell you Romeo’s a great coach. He means a lot to me personally, and we’d love to have Romeo back.”

Crennel has been atop the Texans’ defense since 2014, and the unit has ranked between sixth and eighth in DVOA all three seasons on his watch. Houston also led the NFL in yardage allowed in 2016, which was no small feat given that end J.J. Watt – the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year – only played in three games and went on injured reserve in late September. The Crennel-led, Watt-less Texans had other stars emerge, including end Jadeveon Clowney and cornerback A.J. Bouye (like Crennel, he’s also without a contract), while linebacker Whitney Mercilus‘ excellence continued.

If the Texans aren’t able to work out a deal with Crennel heading into 2017, it’s possible he could join another staff. However, as PFR’s Coordinator Tracker shows, only the Redskins and Chargers are currently without defensive chiefs. The likelihood is that the 49ers will also be on the lookout for a coordinator after they hire a new head coach. For Crennel, taking over another team’s defense would mean doing so for a fifth franchise. Along with Houston, he has been a D-coordinator in Cleveland, New England and Kansas City.

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Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bill O'Brien Doesn't Commit To Osweiler As Starting QB

It sounds like Texans head coach Bill O’Brien will return to the organization next season, but will he opt for the same starting quarterback? O’Brien wouldn’t commit when asked if he was going to stick with quarterback Brock Osweiler in 2017.

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