Christian Covington

Texans Rumors: Watson, Martin, Mathieu

Despite tearing an ACL in November, Deshaun Watson looks like he’ll have some involvement in the Texans‘ offseason program. The one-time offensive rookie of the year favorite is ahead of schedule in his recovery process, just as Bill O’Brien anticipated he would be coming into the offseason program, James Palmer of NFL.com reports (video link). Watson will be throwing some during the offseason. Although Watson is currently working out in a brace on the injured knee, Palmer notes the second-year quarterback may not have to wear a brace once he returns to game action. The former national championship-winning passer will not participate in the team portions of the Texans’ OTAs but will throw during the seven-on-seven and passing portions of the workouts, per Palmer.

Here’s the latest out of Houston.

  • The Texans are considering moving center Nick Martin to guard, Palmer reports. The third-year player started in 14 Texans games at center last season, his first as a healthy NFLer after he missed all of his would-be rookie year due to injury. Having reached an agreement with another former Chiefs offensive lineman in Zach Fulton, it’s possible the Texans could slide Martin to guard and Fulton to center — where he played at times in Kansas City. O’Brien said as many as four new starters could be set to block for Watson this coming season. Senio Kelemete and Seantrel Henderson are now in the fold as well. Houston’s highest-paid lineman remains Jeff Allen, who has not lived up to the $7MM-per-year deal he signed in 2016. Martin’s brother, Zack, of course, is arguably the best guard in the game.
  • Tyrann Mathieu may be gradually pushed into a versatile position with his new team. Palmer notes the Texans plan to initially just play him at safety but do want him working at cornerback and as a blitzer. This hybrid job description helped Mathieu to an All-Pro perch in 2015 and a then-record safety contract before another injury sidetracked him and eventually re-routed him to Houston.
  • Joe Webb will make $915K in base salary and will carry a $720K cap figure this season, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. The wide receiver/quarterback received a $90K signing bonus.
  • Defensive lineman Christian Covington has been fully cleared after his torn biceps injury in October ended his 2017 season, per Wilson. Covington started two games last season and played in seven, doing so after making five starts in 2016.
  • The Texans released right tackle Derek Newton earlier on Thursday and did so with a failed physical designation, Wilson tweets. Newton had not played since October 2016, when he sustained two severe knee injuries on one play.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/17

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Promoted to active roster: OL Maurquice Shakir
  • Released: WR Griff Whalen

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Texans’ Christian Covington Done For Season

The Texans have lost yet another member of the front seven. This time, it’s defensive end Christian Covington. His season is over thanks to a torn bicep, coach Bill O’Brien told reporters on Monday morning (Twitter link). Christian Covington (vertical)

Covington, originally slated to be a backup, was thrust into the starting lineup when the Texans lost multiple starters to injury. Houston will now have to dig even deeper after losing defensive end J.J. Watt and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus to long-term injuries. Defensive ends Kendall Langford (knee) and Joel Heath (knee), meanwhile, are still on the mend.

Covington appeared in seven games for the Texans this year, including two starts. He finishes out with 16 tackles and one sack. In his small sample of play (166 snaps), Pro Football Focus gave him an 82.2 overall score, putting him the top 30 for interior defenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Sign Entire Draft Class

The Texans have locked up their entire 2015 draft class in one fell swoop, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who reports (via Twitter) that the club has signed all seven of its draftees. That includes first-round cornerback Kevin Johnson and second-round linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

According to Over The Cap’s draft pool figures, Johnson will be in line for a four-year contract worth more than $10MM, including a signing bonus of about $5.569MM. His deal will include a fifth-year option for 2019 as well. As for McKinney, he’ll earn $5.345MM over his four-year rookie deal, including a $2.147MM signing bonus.

Other Texans players who are now under contract with the team include third-round receiver Jaelen Strong, fifth-round wideout Keith Mumphery, sixth-round outside linebacker Reshard Cliett, sixth-round defensive tackle Christian Covington, and seventh-round running back Kenny Hilliard.

As our draft pick signings tracker shows, Houston is the third team to finish signing its 2015 draft class. The Dolphins and Vikings have also reached agreements with all their draftees.

Draft Updates: Monday

As one of the top offensive lineman available, Stanford tackle Andrus Peat is a projected first-round pick in the 2015 draft, but there’s one catch — he hasn’t officially declared yet. However, multiple sources tell Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link) that the junior is expected to enter the draft, so we’ll probably hear an announcement before the January 15 deadline. Here’s more updates on NCAA underclassmen…

  • Like Peat, fellow offensive lineman Ronnie Staley hasn’t yet declared for the draft, and he remains truly undecided, per Getlin (via Twitter). The Notre Dame product would rank as the No. 1 OT in the draft, according to Josh Norris of Rotoworld.
  • Rice defensive lineman Christian Covington has declared for the 2015 draft, according to Joe Schad of ESPN (Twitter link). Covington, who underwent knee surgery in November, is the seventh-rated DT on CBSSports.com’s rankings.
  • Penn State tight end Jesse James will forgo his senior season and enter the 2015 draft, according to a press release. James holds the record for touchdown catches by a Nittany Lion TE.
  • Announcing the news himself via Twitter, Florida offensive tackle D.J. Humphries revealed he’ll skip his senior season and enter the draft. A highly-sought after high school player, Humphries had trouble staying healthy in Gainesville, and is rated as the 20th overall tackle per WalterFootball.com.
  • Washington State defensive end Xavier Cooper told CougFan.com that he’ll enter the 2015 draft. Cooper, a three-year starter who racked up five sacks last season, said he expects to be a third- or fourth-round pick.
  • Kansas receiver Nigel King has declared for the 2015 draft, the school announced via press release. King, who caught 29 balls for 518 yards in 2014, could go undrafted, as he isn’t ranked on CBSSports.com’s list of the top 150 WRs.