C.J. Leak

Texans Re-Sign Two RFAs, Dismiss C.J. Leak

The Texans have re-signed two players that were eligible for restricted free agency. As Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports, Houston is bringing back RB Buddy Howell and CB Cornell Armstrong (Twitter links).

Howell’s one-year pact is worth less than the $2.133MM RFA tender, but it does come with some guaranteed money, so it makes sense from his vantage point. The former Dolphins UDFA was claimed by the Texans after Miami released him during final cutdowns in 2018, and he has been with Houston ever since. Though he has amassed just 21 carries over his three pro seasons, he has been a key member of the Texans’ special teams unit.

Armstrong is another former Dolphins castoff. The Southern Miss product was selected by Miami in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, and while he made it through his rookie season with the ‘Fins, he was jettisoned just before the 2019 regular season started. He saw just one defensive snap for the Texans last season after 53 the year before, but like Howell, he has managed to carve out a role on special teams. Also like Howell, Armstrong settled for less than the $2.133MM RFA value. As Wilson writes, Armstrong inked a one-year, $1.25MM pact that includes a $100K signing bonus.

In related news, the Texans have undergone more front office shakeups, dismissing assistant pro personnel director C.J. Leak as well as area scout Ryan Cavanaugh and pro scout Steven Price, per Wilson. While any news like this is going to get attention given the perception of Houston’s ownership and front office at the moment, these moves do not seem out of the ordinary for a team that has just hired a new GM and head coach.

Leak, who was hired by former GM Brian Gaine in 2018, is expected to draw interest from other clubs.

Coaching/FO Notes: Jets, Texans, Ware

A week after the Texans made the move to bring Jets executive Matt Bazirgan into the fold as their director of player personnel, the Jets will hire one of the staffers the Texans axed after the draft. Former Houston college scouting director Jon Carr will assume the same position in New York, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Carr spent over a decade with the Texans, rising from the scouting level to his most recent post with the AFC South franchise. Carr has a history with Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, with the two working together with the Texans for several years. Carr ended up replacing Maccagnan as the Texans’ director of college scouting in 2015 when the Jets named Maccagnan their GM.

Here’s the latest from the managerial side of the game, shifting back to Houston’s revamped scouting department.

  • The Texans hired Saints scout C.J. Leak to be their assistant director of pro scouting, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Leak spent two years as the Saints’ Combine scout and prior to that spent eight years with the Bills, working in their pro personnel department.
  • The NFL closed an investigation into former Bills president Russ Brandon, who resigned from his post recently, and the longtime executive can move forward without any punishment. Brandon was accused of having inappropriate relationships with female employees. “We are satisfied the club addressed the matter in a timely, thorough and appropriate manner,” the league’s statement read, via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). “There will be no further action by the league office.” Brandon worked for the Bills for more than 20 years.
  • After drafting Bradley Chubb to fill the void DeMarcus Ware‘s retirement created, the Broncos reached out to Ware in hopes of the future Hall of Famer helping out on a part-time basis this summer, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Denver also contacted other former NFLers, but Ware is the only known name the to whom the team has reached out. The Broncos’ goal appears to be for these retired players to work as consultants during some OTA sessions and a few additional training camp dates. Ware played the final three seasons of his career with the Broncos, his tenure obviously peaking with a 3.5-sack postseason en route to Denver’s Super Bowl 50 title. Klis writes that it can be safely assumed Chubb would be Ware’s primary project if he accepts.
  • Kris Richard oversaw the final years of the Seahawks‘ full defensive core, but the team fired him after last season. Now working as the Cowboys’ defensive backs coach, the 38-year-old assistant is grateful for the opportunity, even if it is not a coordinator role. “I love (Cowboys DC Rod) Marinelli. It will work because I think we’re cut from the same cloth,” Richard said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). “I’m truly grateful to be here. I’m truly grateful for him.” Richard’s spent his only seasons as an NFL staffer with the Seahawks, with the former NFL player entering his ninth season as a coach. Richard interviewed for the Colts’ HC job before signing on to work under Marinelli in Dallas.