Houston Texans Rumors & News

Jaguars Claim WR Jaelen Strong Off Waivers

The Jaguars have claimed wide receiver Jaelen Strong off waivers from the Texans, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Strong was released by Houston on Monday. Jaelen Strong (vertical)

Because he is not yet a vested veteran, Strong was subject to the waiver wire. With one of the league’s worst records last year, the Jaguars had higher waiver priority than most.

Jacksonville is hoping that Strong will flash some of the skills that made him a third round pick in 2015 draft. So far, he hasn’t done much in the NFL. In his final game as a member of the Texans, he drew zero targets despite the team being paper thin at receiver.

But, at Arizona State, he had 82 catches for 1,165 yards and ten touchdowns in his final season on campus. He’s a 6’3″ target with the strength to push away defenders, so he can make plays happen even though he doesn’t have tremendous speed.

Strong will provide depth for a WR group that is without Allen Robinson for the remainder of the year and without rookie Dede Westbrook for at least six more games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans' Will Fuller Returns To Practice

  • The Texans cut Jaelen Strong on Monday, leaving them especially thin at wide receiver. However, the move makes a little more sense after learning that Will Fuller returned to practice for the team on Monday (via tradeAaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle). Fuller had 47 catches for 635 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie but we have not seen him on the field this year due to a broken collarbone suffered in training camp. It’s not immediately clear when the lightning-quick receiver will return to action, however.

NFL Workout Updates: 9/18/17

Today’s workout update notes:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/18/17

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Signed: WR Greg Ward
  • Released: T Victor Salako

San Francisco 49ers

Texans Cut WR Jaelen Strong

The Texans have released wide receiver Jaelen Strong, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Strong served a one-game suspension to start the year and had only just recently returned to action. To take his place, the team re-signed wide receiver Andy Jones.Jaelen Strong

Strong was one of three active Texans receivers on Thursday night, but he did not draw a single target in the win over the Bengals. As of this writing, the Texans have only three fully healthy receivers in DeAndre HopkinsBraxton Miller, and Jones. With Bruce Ellington (concussion) and Will Fuller (broken collarbone) still dealing with their ailments, the Texans may sign another wideout soon.

Strong was a third round pick of Houston in the 2015 draft but has yet to really produce at the professional level. He caught 14 passes in each of his first two seasons and did not register a touchdown in his eight games last year.

The Texans also considered releasing Strong before the season, according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Duane Brown, Tom Savage

Texans left tackle Duane Brown said he will not report to the team until after its Week 7 bye at the earliest, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. There is some significance to that date, as Brown could skip eight weeks before returning and still receive credit for an accrued season toward free agency, and La Canfora suggests that Brown will report in enough time to earn that credit.

Duane Brown (vertical)

However, Houston needs him back much sooner than that. The Texans’ offense has been anemic through their first two games of the season, and that is thanks in large part to their poor pass protection. Brown’s return would provide a much-needed boost to the team’s O-line, but La Canfora says there has been very little progress towards a new deal. The Texans have been unwilling to negotiate to this point, and that may not change given that the relationship between the two sides has become quite strained. However, Houston has also been unwilling to discuss trading Brown, even though there may be a number of potential trade partners given Brown’s talent and reasonable salaries in 2017 and 2018 (of course, those reasonable salaries are the cause of Brown’s discontent, so any acquiring team would need to satisfy at least some of his contract demands).

Houston quarterback Tom Savage may have been hurt the most by Brown’s absence during the team’s Week 1 loss to Jacksonville. Savage’s play was certainly sub-par, but he was under duress virtually the entire time he was in the game. Nonetheless, head coach Bill O’Brien felt compelled to make an in-game switch to Deshaun Watson, which almost certainly ended the short-lived Savage era in Houston.

That has fueled speculation that Savage could be traded, but La Canfora reports in a separate piece that Savage is not requesting a trade. His agent, Neil Schwartz, who went public with his displeasure over Savage’s benching earlier this week, said, “I’m not happy and Tom is not happy about this, but we’re not asking for a trade.”

Per La Canfora, at least four teams have expressed some level of interest in Savage over the course of the last year or so, but all were convinced that Houston was very high on the former fourth-round pick and that it would take a lot to pry him away from the Texans. That, combined with the support of veteran teammates that Savage enjoyed, made O’Brien’s quick hook somewhat puzzling, but given that Savage will be a free agent at the end of the year, it is perhaps not surprising that he is content to wait to see what the open market has in store for him rather than push for a trade now.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Sign OT Jah Reid

Jah Reid has found a new home. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter), the veteran offensive tackle has signed with the Texans. The 29-year-old worked out for the organization yesterday, and he previously auditioned for the Colts and Jets. Reid was released by the Chiefs in late August.

Jah ReidThe 2011 third-round pick had spent the first four seasons of his career with the Ravens before joining the Chiefs prior to the 2015 season. In two years with Kansas City, Reid ultimately appeared in 22 games with 11 starts. The Chiefs acquired lineman Cameron Erving prior to the regular season, and that led to their decision to release Reid. The move ultimately saved the Chiefs $2.78MM and $3.2MM in 2018.

The Texans offensive line has struggled through the team’s first two games, having allowed 13 total sacks. With Duane Brown currently holding out and Derek Newton sitting on the Reserve/PUP list, it was fairly obvious that the organization could use some reinforcement on the offensive line. Breno Giacomini and Kendall Lamm are currently the team’s starters at offensive tackle, and the team is also rostering Chris Clark and rookie Julie’n Davenport. Reid also has experience playing offensive guard, and his versatility could make him an ideal reserve piece for the Texans.

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Texans Unlikely To Sign Gary Barnidge

  • It appears free agent tight end Gary Barnidge‘s stay on the unemployment line will continue. Barnidge worked out for the Texans on Friday, but they’re not going to sign him, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggests (on Twitter). The team opted to add tight end MyCole Pruitt to its practice squad after his own Friday tryout. Barnidge carries a more impressive track record than Pruitt and many other tight ends, of course, having logged quality seasons in Cleveland over each of the previous two campaigns. However, the 31-year-old hasn’t been able to find work since the Browns released him after the draft.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/15/17

Friday’s practice squad moves…

Carolina Panthers

  • Signed: TE Bucky Hodges
  • Cut: WR Keyarris Garrett

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: WR Fred Brown

Texans Work Out 8, Sign Cobi Hamilton

Fresh off their first win of the season, the Texans worked out a variety of offensive players on Friday, including the previously reported Gary Barnidge, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter links). Fellow tight ends Larry Donnell, Gavin Escobar, David Johnson and MyCole Pruitt joined Barnidge in auditioning, while wide receivers Cobi Hamilton and Jordan, offensive lineman Jah Reid and quarterback Garrett Grayson were also on hand. The Texans saw enough from Hamilton to sign him to their practice squad, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Houston has an obvious need at tight end, with C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson dealing with the aftereffects of concussions. Fiedorowicz is on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss a significant chunk of time, while neither Griffin nor Anderson dressed for the Texans’ 13-9 win over the Bengals on Thursday. As you’d expect, the tight end position was a non-factor for Houston against Cincinnati, as all 15 of quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s completions went to wide receivers and running backs.

Larry Donnell (vertical)

All of the tight ends the Texans looked at Friday come with NFL experience, though only Donnell and Escobar have extensive pro track records. Donnell had a 63-catch, six-touchdown season with the Giants in 2014, but his production has gone downhill since, thanks in part to injuries, and he hasn’t stuck anywhere since becoming a free agent in the offseason. The 28-year-old’s only employment since last season ended came in the form of a short stint in Baltimore, which signed him July 30 and released him Sept. 1.

Escobar, meanwhile, was a high pick in 2013, when Dallas took him in the second round, but he didn’t make much of a mark there behind all-time great Jason Witten. The 26-year-old, who caught 30 passes and eight TDs during his four-year Cowboys run, signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in March but didn’t crack their Week 1 roster.

Reid was a teammate of Escobar’s for a brief period in Kansas City, which released the tackle/guard on the final day of August. A veteran of 61 appearances and 18 starts, he’d provide depth along a Houston line that’s without its left tackle, holdout Duane Brown, and has already yielded 13 sacks in two weeks.

The other fairly notable player on this list is the Texans’ newest addition, Hamilton, who had been looking for work since the Steelers cut him Sept. 1. The Texans are already the sixth organization for the 26-year-old Hamilton, who’s coming off a career season (albeit a modest one) in Pittsburgh. Hamilton started in eight of 11 appearances and caught 17 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He added another four receptions and a TD in three playoff games last January.

As is the case at tight end, Houston’s receivers aren’t the picture of health. Both Bruce Ellington and Will Fuller missed Thursday’s game with injuries (the latter will be out until the fall), leaving the Texans wanting at wideout. Believe it or not, DeAndre Hopkins and Braxton Miller are their only receivers who have caught passes this season. Hamilton could be a factor sometime this year, then.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.