Texans Rumors

Texans Could Still Hire Caserio

The Patriots have a big offseason ahead of them. Obviously there’s still the Tom Brady situation to work out, but there are some important behind the scenes decisions that need to be made as well. The front office is in a bit of limbo, as two prominent execs in Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort are both on expiring contracts that run out in May. The Texans originally tried to hire Caserio as their GM last year, which resulted in tampering charges. There’s now a good chance that both Caserio and Ossenfort move on from the Pats before the 2020 season, per Albert Breer of SI.com.

Even though we just heard recently that the Texans weren’t going to hire a GM and would continue with Bill O’Brien running the show, Breer writes that the “Texans would find a way to hire him as GM” if Caserio wanted to work in Houston. If Caserio and Ossenfort both leave, Breer writes that the Patriots would likely promote Dave Ziegler. It was rumored that Josh McDaniels might’ve wanted to take Ziegler with him had he landed the head coaching job in Cleveland.

Will Fuller Undergoes Surgery

A key component in the Texans’ offense, Will Fuller again struggled to stay healthy this season. Houston’s No. 2 wide receiver missed five regular-season games and the team’s first-round playoff contest.

Fuller took a big step toward a full recovery recently, undergoing sports hernia surgery to repair the groin issues he dealt with this season, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

The Texans’ top deep threat aggravated the injury in the divisional-round loss to the Chiefs. Fuller has yet to play a full season, coming closest in a 14-game rookie campaign. This will mark another offseason of rehab for the former first-round pick. He spent the 2019 offseason rehabbing an ACL tear he sustained in 2018. Fuller dealt with hamstring and groin injuries this season, with the latter malady shelving him for Houston’s wild-card game.

The Notre Dame alum is going into his fifth-year option season. He’s on the Texans’ books for $10.16MM. The 2020 campaign will be critical for the former first-round pick. He will need to show he can stay healthy in order to command a lucrative extension or a long-term free agent deal as a 2021 free agent.

Deshaun Watson‘s regular-season QBR was more than 15 points higher with Fuller on the field than when he was sidelined. Despite the five-game absence, the 25-year-old wideout totaled a career-high 670 receiving yards. The Texans have Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills under contract going into next season. Fuller and Stills, however, are entering contract years. Thanks to the Stills trade and Fuller’s salary spike, the Texans’ receiver trio is set to comprise more than $31MM on the team’s 2020 payroll.

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Latest On Vernon Hargreaves, Texans

The Texans decision to claim cornerback Vernon Hargreaves off waivers mostly worked out for the organization. However, the team now has an interesting decision to make on the former first-rounder.

As Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes, the organization must decide whether they want to pick up the fifth-year option on the 24-year-old. The team could alternatively cut Hargreaves before that option becomes guaranteed (similar to what they did last year with Kevin Johnson), or both sides could work on finding common ground on a new contract. Either way, it sounds like the team is interested in retaining the defensive back.

“Vernon came in here, he works very hard,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “Very hard worker, guy that really showed up to practice every day, learned the system. I don’t think that’s easy to be able to come in, in the middle of a season, and really later than that, and play that nickel position is not easy.

So, I give a lot of credit to Vernon. There’s a lot of things that he’s going to work hard to improve upon. We’re going to help them with that, but I think Vernon stepped into a tough situation and really made the best of it.”

Hargreaves fell out of favor with Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers coaching staff, leading to Tampa Bay’s decision to waive him in November. The cornerback was ultimately claimed by Houston, and he compiled 21 tackles, one tackle for a loss, and two passes defended down the stretch. While he struggled a bit during his team’s playoff loss to the Chiefs, it sounds like the organization is confident he can take another step forward during his second season in Houston.

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Texans S Justin Reid To Undergo Surgery

For the second straight year, Texans safety Justin Reid will undergo offseason surgery. Last year, Reid went under the knife for a wrist ailment, and this year, he will have surgery to repair a torn labrum, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 KRIV tweets.

Reid has quietly established himself as one of the game’s better young safeties, and it’s fair to wonder how good he would be if he were completely healthy. As a rookie, he battled the wrist injury throughout the 2018 season, and he was playing through the labrum tear in 2019. His perseverance has earned him the respect of his teammates, who voted him the 2019 winner of the Ed Block Courage Award.

Though he did miss one regular season game with a concussion, Reid started every one of the club’s other 15 games, picking up two interceptions to go along with 78 total tackles. He was also on the field for every defensive snap in both of the Texans’ postseason contests.

Houston largely struggled in pass defense in 2019, but Reid earned strong reviews for his work from Pro Football Focus. As a 2018 rookie, the Stanford product will be eligible for an extension for the first time next offseason. However, fellow safety Jahleel Addae is eligible for free agency this year, along with cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby, so there could be a lot of turnover in the Texans’ defensive backfield.

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Texans Hire Anthony Weaver As DC

The Texans are making a change at defensive coordinator. Anthony Weaver has been promoted from defensive line coach to take over for Romeo Crennel, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

Crennel was said to be considering retirement. It’s not immediately clear whether the 72-year-old will walk away from the game or return to the team in some sort of advisory capacity. The former Browns and Chiefs head coach served as defensive coordinator from 2014-16 and returned to that role in 2018, after Mike Vrabel became the Titans’ HC. All in all, he’s spent 38 years as an NFL coach.

The Texans ranked 19th in defensive DVOA in 2019 and just fired outside linebackers coach John Pagano. Crennel’s defense is coming off a brutal divisional-round showing, when the Chiefs erased a 24-point deficit by halftime in a 51-31 rout.

Weaver, 39, played with the Texans for three seasons in the 2000s and has coached in Houston for the past four years.

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Romeo Crennel Contemplating Retirement

A two-stint defensive coordinator for the Texans, Romeo Crennel has not committed to staying in his role for the 2020 season. The longtime coach is considering retirement, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Crennel, 72, has played key roles on all six Bill O’Brien Houston staffs. The former Browns and Chiefs head coach has served as defensive coordinator from 2014-16 and returned to that role in 2018, after Mike Vrabel became the Titans’ HC.

Should Crennel step down after 38 years as an NFL coach, Texans defensive line coach Anthony Weaver is viewed as a top in-house replacement candidate, Wilson adds. Weaver, 39, played with the Texans for three seasons in the 2000s and has coached in Houston for the past four years.

Although Crennel served as HC in Cleveland from 2005-08 and spent the 2012 season as the full-time HC in Kansas City, he may still be best known for his work as defensive coordinator for the Patriots’ first three Super Bowl championship teams. He has coached in the NFL since 1981, beginning as the Giants’ special teams coach and staying in New York until 1992. Working under Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, Crennel has won five Super Bowls as an assistant.

The Texans ranked 19th in defensive DVOA this season and just fired outside linebackers coach John Pagano. Crennel’s defense is coming off a brutal divisional-round showing, when the Chiefs erased a 24-point deficit by halftime in a 51-31 rout. After finally deploying J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney for a full season together in 2018, the Texans traded Clowney and again saw Watt miss extensive time due to injury. Houston ranked seventh in DVOA last season, rebounding from a down year under Vrabel.

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Texans Fire John Pagano

John Pagano‘s Texans stay will be limited to two years. The team dismissed him from a role as outside linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

Pagano formerly worked as a defensive coordinator for the Chargers and Raiders, with the former stint (from 2012-16) being his most notable NFL gig to date. He caught on with Houston in 2018.

The Texans did not generate a consistent pass rush after J.J. Watt‘s pectoral injury this season and will be looking for a new coach for this group. This also comes after the Texans could not deter Patrick Mahomes from a stunning fortune reversal in Kansas City last weekend. The Chiefs superstar directed seven straight touchdown drives, erasing the Texans’ 24-0 lead.

Pagano’s position group changed considerably from 2018-19, with the Texans trading Jadeveon Clowney just before the season. While Whitney Mercilus jumped out to a hot start in teaming with Watt, he went sackless in the first seven games in which the three-time defensive player of the year did not finish.

The younger brother of Chuck Pagano, John had not worked with O’Brien prior to arriving in Houston. John Pagano spent 15 seasons in San Diego before being fired as DC when the team relocated to Los Angeles. He spent one season in Oakland as defensive coordinator for Jack Del Rio‘s defense but was not retained when Jon Gruden came aboard.

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NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/15/20

Today’s reserve/futures deals:

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • DB DaShaun Amos

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/13/20

Here are today’s reserve/futures deals:

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

Texans Won’t Hire GM

The Texans’ offseason is underway and they won’t be hiring a new general manager to manage things. On Monday, head coach Bill O’Brien confirmed the team’s previously rumored plans to keep the current structure in place without the addition of a new GM (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle). 

I feel like where we are right now it stays the way it is,” O’Brien said of the team’s current front office. “We have a great group of people.”

The Texans have taken a committee approach to roster management since firing Brian Gaine back in June. Since then, executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby has run the football operations department with O’Brien having final say. Meanwhile, VP of Football Administration Chris Olsen handles contracts and salary cap matters with Matt Bazirgan running player personnel.

When Gaine was forced out, the Texans were denied the chance to hire top Patriots executive Nick Caserio to serve as their GM. After their plans were thwarted, the belief was that they would wait until after the 2020 draft, then hire Caserio away from New England. Apparently, that’s no longer the plan.

The Texans’ unorthodox setup has not prevented them from staying active. The Texans traded for running backs Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, giving them the quality backfield that they sorely needed. They also swung a blockbuster deal for Laremy Tunsil and moved Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks for a third-rounder and two players. That third rounder later turned into former Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley.

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