Despite Houston hiring a new GM, it will retain its starting running back. David Johnson will remain with the Texans for the 2021 season, agreeing to a new one-year deal on Tuesday.
Johnson’s new contract will lower his cap number, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reporting the six-year veteran will receive $4.25MM fully guaranteed and could earn up to $6MM in 2021 (Twitter link). This comes shortly after a report indicated the Texans were interested in retaining Johnson at a reduced rate.
The 29-year-old back was due $7.95MM in base salary next season, but just $2.1MM of that was guaranteed. In exchange for reducing his salary, Johnson will double his guaranteed money. The former Cardinals third-round pick remains signed through the 2021 season.
This will allow Johnson to avoid what could be a grim free agency market for non-big-ticket veterans. Previous Texans GM Bill O’Brien made Johnson the centerpiece of the widely panned DeAndre Hopkins trade, which included the running back and a second-round pick coming back to Houston for the All-Pro receiver. While Johnson was an All-Pro in 2016, he has not maintained that form. However, Johnson did surpass 1,000 scrimmage yards in just 12 games in his debut Texans season.
The Texans adding a back would make sense, with the team having released Duke Johnson last week. But David Johnson will factor into Houston’s backfield equation in the new Texans regime’s first season.