11:38am: Thomas had a “great visit and workout” with the Texans, but the two sides were unable to agree on terms, according to agent Lamont Smith (via Twitter). Assuming Thomas and the Texans don’t revisit negotiations, the team will be on the lookout for another running back.
10:32am: The Texans intend to sign free agent running back Pierre Thomas to a contract today following a workout with the team, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). According to Wilson, Houston also tried out running backs Ben Malena and Joe McKnight., while Rand Getlin of the NFL Network tweets that the club “put out at feeler” on former Olympian Jeff Demps as well.
The Texans entered the market for free agent running back help after word broke yesterday that starter Arian Foster will require groin surgery. There’s no official timetable for Foster’s return just yet, as he and the Texans consider his options, but there’s some speculation that his recovery may require a trip to the IR-DTR list. With Foster out, and with Thomas’ signing not yet official, Houston’s running back depth chart includes Alfred Blue at the top, with Jonathan Grimes, Chris Polk, and rookie Kenny Hilliard all behind him.
Thomas, 30, has spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the Saints, accumulating 3,745 rushing yards and another 2,608 yards through the air during his stint in New Orleans. A part-time contributor, Thomas has always been a strong receiver, catching a career-high 77 balls in 2013 and another 45 in 2014.
I wouldn’t expect Thomas shoulder a significant load for the Texans, even if Foster misses the start of the season, but he’d give the team a veteran option to take some of the pressure off of Blue and the club’s other young backs.