Texans Rumors

Texans’ Tytus Howard Out For Season

The Texans made Tytus Howard a key component of their offseason, handing the fifth-year offensive lineman a lucrative extension. The resurgent team will not see the former first-round pick finish out the season.

After suffering a knee injury in Week 12, Howard is expected to miss the rest of the season, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Tests have revealed Howard will need surgery. Howard did well to secure a high-end contract this summer, but this represents a blow to a Texans O-line that has already absorbed a few this year. Specifically, Howard has battled a patellar tendon issue for the past few weeks, with KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson adding the injury worsened Sunday.

Houston began the season without Howard, placing its starting right tackle on IR to start the season. Howard had undergone hand surgery. But the Texans used one of their IR activations on the 2019 draftee. Having signed George Fant in the wake of Howard’s hand injury, the Texans slid Howard to guard — a position he played at points during his rookie contract. The team has already lost three interior O-linemen — including guard starter Kenyon Green, a 2022 first-rounder — for the season. Howard joining that list doubles as the biggest blow this battered unit has sustained.

Houston is committed to Howard, who has played a few positions over the course of his career. The team gave Howard a three-year, $56MM accord. That pact came with $36MM guaranteed at signing. The Texans had drafted the Division I-FCS product during Brian Gaine‘s short run as GM, but Nick Caserio made him part of an offseason O-line blueprint. The Texans extended Laremy Tunsil and gave Shaq Mason a new deal after trading for him. The O-line fortifications have helped C.J. Stroud rocket to the Offensive Rookie of the Year lead and have played a major role in the No. 2 overall pick elevate into the MVP race.

In addition to Kenyon Green, the Texans have lost Scott Quessenberry — their primary 2022 center starter — and late-summer trade pickup Kendrick Green for the season. The team activated second-round pick Juice Scruggs just last week; the Penn State alum had missed nearly three months due to a hamstring injury sustained during the team’s preseason finale. Rookie Jarrett Patterson, who has been Houston’s primary center this season, is also on IR.

Pro Football Focus has viewed Howard’s move back to guard as a somewhat challenging odyssey, slotting him 69th at the position. Months before the Texans traded for Tunsil, they drafted Howard to play right tackle. Howard began his career there but played 10 games at guard to open the 2021 season. He then upped his stock by faring well replacing Tunsil at left tackle. Tunsil’s 2022 return slid Howard back to right tackle, and he played well enough to earn a top-five RT contract. At guard, Howard’s $18.6MM-per-year deal ranks third overall.

With Fant on a one-year contract, Howard may well be back at right tackle by the time he is healthy again. For now, Tunsil and Fant remain at tackle. Scruggs replaced Howard at right guard against the Jaguars, with free agent signing Michael Deiter remaining at center. After Scruggs missed 10 games to start his career, the No. 62 overall pick may be set to start his first game — at a position he was not drafted to play. The Texans also have trade acquisition Josh Jones, who has played both tackle and guard as a pro, as an option opposite Mason.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/28/23

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: CB Cameron McCutcheon
  • Released: OL Grant Miller

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

After getting cut by the Patriots this past weekend, Will Grier is back with the organization. Considering the uncertainty surrounding New England’s QB situation, there was some speculation that Grier could get a look before the end of the season, and his addition to the taxi squad leaves that door open. The former Cowboys backup started two games for the Panthers back in 2019, going winless while tossing zero touchdowns vs. four interceptions.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/28/23

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Signed to active roster: CB Ekow Boye-Doe

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Following the addition of Michael Carter and the return of Emari Demercado, the Cardinals didn’t have any room for Keaontay Ingram. The 2022 sixth-round pick got into 20 games across one-plus seasons in Arizona, collecting 181 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. If the running back passes through waivers, there’s a chance he lands on the Cardinals practice squad.

Charlie Heck is back on the Texans active roster after missing the first two-plus months of the season. The offensive lineman was recovering from a back injury that “involved sciatica that went down to his foot,” per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston. The former fourth-round pick will look to carve out a role after starting 17 of his 35 NFL appearances through his first three seasons in the NFL.

Texans Claim DE Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett recently saw his Eagles tenure come to an end, but he has not had to wait long to find out his next NFL home. The veteran edge rusher has been claimed off waivers by the Texans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. In a corresponding move, kicker Matt Ammendola has been waived.

Barnett was waived last Friday, leaving him subject to the wire on Monday. If he had cleared, he would have become a free agent and been able to choose his next destination. Instead, the Texans have elected to claim him and add a veteran presence to their edge contingent. Schefter notes Houston had interest in trading for Barnett in advance of the 2023 trade deadline.

The former first-rounder came up in trade talks in advance of last month’s deadline, but Barnett’s lack of playing time and production limited his value. As a pending free agent, though, his contract represented one which would have been easy to move from the Eagles’ perspective and to absorb with respect to an acquiring team. Schefter’s colleague Field Yates notes Philadelphia restructured Barnett’s deal prior to waiving him, a move which has left him with a base salary of $420K. That figure, along with some per-game roster bonuses, represents the cost the Texans will take on.

Miami was named as a team to watch with respect to adding Barnett, in large part due to the season-ending Achilles tear suffered by Jaelan PhillipsThe Dolphins indeed put in a claim for Barnett, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates. With a superior record, the AFC East leaders were positioned behind Houston in the waiver priority. Now, Barnett will head to a new team for the first time in his career after an underwhelming end to his Eagles tenure.

The 27-year-old showed promise with at least five sacks in three of his first four seasons. He recorded only a pair of sacks in 2021, however, and an ACL tear suffered in Week 1 of last season left him sidelined for the first year of his extension. Barnett has been healthy this season, but he has been buried on the depth chart of a stacked Eagles defensive front. As a result, he has played just 99 defensive snaps, recording three tackles and sacks or QB pressures.

The Tennessee alum will look to carve out a more notable role in Houston, a team which has recorded only 22 sacks on the year. Starting defensive ends Jonathan Greenard and Will Anderson have combined for 10, and expectations are sky-high for the latter in particular after he was selected third overall in the 2023 draft. Still, the Texans could use experienced depth in the pass-rush department as they aim to secure an unexpected postseason berth. Playing a part in that effort could help Barnett’s free agent stock along the way.

Vic Fangio‘s consulting gig in Philly last season overlapped with Barnett’s final full tenure, though the veteran pass rusher’s Week 1 ACL tear minimizes that connection to a large degree. But the Dolphins losing Phillips wounds their pass rush. Fangio losing key edge-rushing personnel partially defined his Broncos tenure, which saw Von Miller and Bradley Chubb miss extended stretches to the point the two barely played together following the latter’s 2019 ACL tear. The Dolphins still have Chubb leading the way, and the team may well give the demoted Emmanuel Ogbah — who is attached to a four-year, $65.4MM extension that runs through 2025 — more time in the wake of Phillips’ injury.

Texans Activate C Juice Scruggs From IR

NOVEMBER 25: Finally, some good news for the Texans’ interior offensive line. After season-ending injuries to Quessenberry and Kenyon and Kendrick Green, and Patterson, the substitute starter at center, getting carted off with a broken fibula, nearly a month ago, Houston is finally getting some reinforcement. The team announced that they have officially activated Scruggs from injured reserve, allowing the second-round rookie to finally be available to potentially make his NFL debut. Whether or not he plays or starts has yet to be determined. He has only been back at practice since Wednesday and is trying to unseat the team’s fourth option at center, Dieter, who currently ranks as the NFL’s 23rd-best center, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

In order to make room for Scruggs on the active roster, the Texans have waived linebacker Garret Wallow. Wallow spent most of this year on the practice squad after being waived halfway through his rookie contract in the preseason. The former fifth-round pick started five games in his first two seasons but only made an appearance this year when he was promoted to the active roster a week ago. If he clears waivers, Wallow will almost certainly be retained on a practice squad contract.

Lastly, the Texans announced that cornerback Desmond King and wide receiver Steven Sims have been activated from the practice squad as standard gameday elevations for tomorrow’s divisional matchup against the Jaguars. King has appeared in three games this year for the Steelers after spending the past two seasons in Houston as a starter. The Texans brought him back to their p-squad this week. Sims was elevated last week and caught both his targets for 25 yards. Sims also took punt returner duties, fielding two for 16 yards.

NOVEMBER 22: Juice Scruggs has endured a long journey back from the hamstring injury he suffered during the preseason. The second-round Texans draftee has not yet made his NFL debut, despite his injury occurring in the team’s preseason finale.

The Texans have finally designated the Penn State product for return Wednesday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Scruggs, who was moving toward being the Texans’ starting center during training camp, now has three weeks to be activated from IR. No activation in that span will make this a true redshirt year for the high-end interior O-line prospect.

Making multiple trades for O-linemen in August, the Texans have also seen long-term injuries affect their front. Projected guard starter Kenyon Green is out for the season, and trade pickup Kendrick Green joins him on season-ending IR. The team’s primary center starter last season, Scott Quessenberry, suffered season-ending injuries — ACL and MCL tears — early during training camp. That paved the way for Scruggs, but his hamstring setback has thus far defined his rookie year.

The Texans will give the No. 62 overall pick a chance to change that soon. Houston has also dealt with center availability issues in-season. Jarrett Patterson started seven games this season, but the sixth-round rookie is on IR after being carted off the field in Week 8. Free agent pickup Michael Deiter resides as option 4 for the Texans; the ex-Dolphins third-rounder has started the past three games at center.

Houston has just two IR activations remaining this season. It stands to reason Scruggs will be given a shot to come back. Though, the 6-4 team is contending for a playoff spot. A key performer going down with a short-term injury now could still be brought back later this season, but the ascending team may need to keep players on the active roster in the event of multiweek injuries going forward. DeMeco Ryans‘ previous team ran into this issue, with the 49ers using all their IR activations during the 2022 regular season.

Scruggs has already needed to overcome obstacles to keep his career going. A 2019 car accident left his playing future in serious doubt. The 6-3, 315-pound blocker earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2022, cementing his status as one of the top interior linemen in this year’s class.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/23/23

Thanksgiving Day transactions from around the league:

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Horton, a fourth-round rookie out of TCU, released a statement from the team that he is “dealing with a personal health matter that will keep (him) away from the team for an indefinite period of time.” His spot on the roster will be taken by Hyder, a practice squad end who is one of several former 49ers defenders to join head coach DeMeco Ryans in Houston.

The 49ers have upgraded one of their cornerback roster spots, subbing Womack in off the injured reserve for Jean-Charles. Womack was a much more active participant in his rookie season last year than Jean-Charles has been for the 49ers so far this season. While Womack was ready to return, the same could not be said for rookie fifth-round defensive end Robert Beal Jr. Beal was downgraded to out for tonight’s game and will remain on IR with his 21-day practice window still open for four more days.

Meanwhile, Miami and New York are making their standard gameday elevations for the league’s first ever Black Friday football game tomorrow.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/23/23

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Houston Texans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo reportedly didn’t practice yesterday due to injury issues with his back, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN. Atlanta will make sure their backs are covered with the signing of Wright, just in case.

Wells was waived by the Bucs yesterday in order to make room on the roster for linebacker J.J. Russell. He finds his way back to Tampa by way of a practice squad contract.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/21/23

Tuesday’s taxi squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Released: DB Cameron McCutcheon

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Poll: Who Will Win NFL MVP Award?

Through 11 weeks, this NFL season has not produced an MVP favorite. Oddsmakers have slotted a number of usual suspects as frontrunners, but the stretch run will be important to generating a lead candidate.

No non-quarterback has won this award since Adrian Peterson‘s 2,097-yard rushing season edged Peyton Manning‘s Broncos debut in 2012, though J.J. Watt did finish second in voting in 2014. A quarterback will be expected to claim the honors this season, but that player has not declared himself just yet.

Two of the favorites faced off Monday night, with Jalen Hurts‘ Eagles besting the Chiefs in a Super Bowl LVII rematch. The Chiefs stifled Hurts for much of Philadelphia’s 21-17 win, but the dual-threat passer came through late. He is also the quarterback on the NFL’s only one-loss team. Hurts would have represented a strong MVP challenger to Patrick Mahomes last year, but a late-season shoulder injury led to the Chiefs superstar pulling away. QBR ranks the Super Bowl LVII QBs fifth and sixth, respectively, with Mahomes slipping to No. 5 after Kansas City’s loss.

After Hurts’ breakthrough 2022, the Eagles gave the fourth-year QB a then-record five-year, $255MM extension — one that set the market for Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow. Hurts has accounted for 24 touchdowns — nine on the ground, as he makes a case as the most unstoppable short-yardage QB rusher in NFL history — and has upped his completion percentage (68.5) from 2022.

Mahomes responded to the Tyreek Hill trade by notching the first MVP-Super Bowl MVP since Kurt Warner in 1999, and the Chiefs updated his contract to fall in line with the market Hurts helped set. Kansas City, however, has seen its oft-questioned wide receiver setup play a big role in both its home losses this year. Mahomes ranks 20th in yards per attempt, at 6.9; he cleared eight in each of his two MVP campaigns. With Travis Kelce in his age-34 season, will the seventh-year QB be able to overcome a suspect receiver setup?

Brock Purdy is leading the NFL (by a wide margin, at 9.7) in yards per attempt. After a midseason slump, Purdy has put together two strong games. He accomplished the 49ers’ first perfect passer rating in a game since 1989. Last year’s Mr. Irrelevant has been a revelation for the 49ers, who have his seventh-round contract on the books through 2025. Purdy also leads the league in QBR, providing an efficient season while blessed with an elite skill-position corps. Although this skill group could end up working against Purdy, he would become the most unlikely MVP since Warner.

No. 2 in QBR, Dak Prescott has put together a strong stretch since the Cowboys endured a blowout loss in San Francisco. After four straight one-touchdown showings, the eighth-year Cowboys starter has 13 TD tosses over his past four games. At this pace, the 30-year-old passer will be in position for another monster contract. With the franchise tag off the table and a $59MM cap hit awaiting in his 2024 contract year, Prescott is in one of the most player-friendly extension positions in league history.

Jackson sits ninth in QBR but has the Ravens perched as the AFC’s top seed for the time being. Given a $52MM-per-year deal that differed from his peers’ 2023 re-ups — in that it contains no extra years of control due to it coming after a Ravens franchise tag — Jackson is still operating a run-oriented offense. His 12 touchdown passes rank 16th, though his yards per attempt (8.1) and completion rate (69.5) figures are in the top six. Among this year’s contenders, Jackson joins Mahomes as the only former MVPs.

No rookie has claimed this award since Jim Brown in 1957, but this particular season does keep the door slightly ajar for C.J. Stroud. Almost no one expected the Texans to be in the playoff race, and the team sweeping the Jaguars would move an AFC South title closer to reality. Stroud has run away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year race, doing so despite numerous O-line injuries. The No. 2 overall pick’s 2,962 passing yards sit second, but QBR places the Ohio State product 12th. Stroud’s three-INT game against the Cardinals hurt his cause, but the Houston rookie still has some time to make a historic push.

While Jared Goff (seventh in QBR) was once the throw-in in a trade that keyed a Matthew Stafford-led Rams Super Bowl charge, the Lions are 8-2 for the first time in 61 years. Detroit is 1-2 against teams with winning records, but a favorable schedule down the stretch stands to allow Goff — in Year 2 with OC Ben Johnson running the show — to make a case. The Lions ending up with home-field advantage in the NFC would obviously strengthen the former No. 1 overall pick’s cause. Regardless, the 29-year-old QB has moved into position for a lucrative Lions extension.

How the AFC East plays out stands to produce a contender. Although Josh Allen‘s turnover issues helped lead the Bills to fire OC Ken Dorsey, the sixth-year superstar leads the NFL with 22 TD passes (while pacing the league with 12 picks) while adding seven more scores on the ground. Tua Tagovailoa ranks just 10th in QBR — six spots behind Allen — and the Dolphins have fallen short in matchups against the Bills, Chiefs and Eagles. That said, the Bills have five losses to the Dolphins’ three. Miami first-place scoring ranking will obviously benefit its ascending passer, though Tua could conceivably split votes with Hill.

No wide receiver has ever won MVP acclaim, and Hill’s off-field history will not help his case. But his impact on the Dolphins has been undeniable. The former Chiefs speed merchant has changed Tagovailoa’s career trajectory, and the eighth-year wideout leads the NFL with 1,222 receiving yards — in front by 209 — despite the Dolphins already resting during a bye week. While Jerry Rice and Calvin Johnson could not parlay their receiving yardage records into MVP honors — respectively losing out to Emmitt Smith (1995) and Peterson (2012) — this QB pace persisting would stand to keep Hill going. Christian McCaffrey also makes sense as a candidate. His midseason 2022 arrival catalyzed the 49ers, and despite missing a game, the ex-Panthers extension recipient leads the NFL with 825 rushing yards. No other RB has posted more than 700, and this would obviously be an interesting year to see a running back emerge as a true MVP candidate.

Could this be the year a defender sneaks through? Only Alan Page and Lawrence Taylor have done so, but with no QB residing as a clear frontrunner, is a door ajar for Myles Garrett or T.J. Watt powering offensively limited teams? Is there an off-grid player who shapes up as a late-season threat? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on the race in the comments section.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/20/23

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

  • Activated from IR: TE Parker Hesse
  • Placed on IR: RB Jacob Saylors

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: QB Drew Plitt
  • Placed on IR: G Jaxson Kirkland

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

With Mark Andrews sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Ravens have added some tight end depth. The team ended up opting for Scotty Washington, who got into one game with the Patriots as a rookie in 2022. The Wake Forest product was one of several tight ends to work out for Baltimore today, with the group also featuring O.J. Howard, Connor Davis, and Chris Myarick (per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston).

While Michael Thomas recovers from a knee injury, the Saints are turning to a familiar face. Marquez Callaway is back with the Saints after bouncing around the NFL in 2023. The wideout wasn’t re-signed by the Saints following the 2022 campaign, and he’s since spent time with the Broncos and Raiders. The former UDFA spent the first three seasons of his career in New Orleans, hauling in 83 catches for 1,069 yards and seven touchdowns.

Eric Rowe has found a new home after getting cut by the Panthers practice squad back in September. Rowe earned a pair of Super Bowl rings during his three-year stint in New England, and he followed that up with a three-year stint in Miami. Rowe got into 14 games (six starts) for the Dolphins in 2022, finishing with 56 tackles and two sacks.