Ka'imi Fairbairn

Ka’imi Fairbairn, Texans Interested In Extension

Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn will hit free agency at the end of the 2019 campaign, but it sounds like the team and the special-teamer are interested in a long-term pact. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes that Fairbairn is interested in a multi-year contract extension, with the Texans having “similar ambitions.”

The 25-year-old gave a long list of reasons for wanting to stick around Houston, including the kicking conditions inside NRG Stadium.

“Yeah, of course, this is one of the best places to kick,” Fairbairn said. “We have a really good young team, great owners, great coaching staff…I just focus on today. I just do my best today and let all the chips fall where they may. I can’t predict the future.”

The former undrafted free agent out of UCLA spent his 2016 rookie season on the IR, but he beat veteran Nick Novak for the starting gig prior to the 2017 campaign. Fairbairn was solid during his first year as a starter, but he took a clear step forward during his junior season.

The kicker finished the 2018 season having connected on 37 of his 42 field goal attempts (88.1 percent) and 39 of his 41 extra point attempts (95.1 percent). Fairbairn converted all of his field goal and extra point tries in December, earning him the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month nod.

The Texans placed a second-round restricted free agent tender on Fairbairn earlier this offseason, which the kicker subsequently signed. That means the fourth-year player will play the 2019 season on a $3.095MM salary. This is already a significant raise for Fairbairn, who earned less than $1.5MM over the first three years of his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans K Ka’imi Fairbairn Signs RFA Tender

Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Defensive tackle Brandon Dunn and linebacker Brennan Scarlett, each of whom was tendered at the original round level, also inked their tenders, per Wilson.

Restricted free agents have until Friday to sign offer sheets, but it was always unlikely that a rival club would sacrifice a second-round pick to sign a kicker such as Fairbairn. Still, the Texans thought enough of Fairbairn to assign him a second-round tender, which costs nearly $1MM more than an original round tender. For Fairbairn, he’ll see his base salary increase to $3.095MM, a significant raise for a player who earned less than $1.5MM over the first three years of his career.

A 2016 undrafted free agent out of UCLA, Fairbairn became the Texans’ kicker in 2017 after spending his rookie campaign on injured reserve. Last year, he led the NFL in both field goal attempts and conversions while ranking 13th in field goal percentage. Football Outsiders‘ ranked Houston eighth in its field goal/extra point metric.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Tender Ka’imi Fairbairn, Brennan Scarlett; Re-Sign Joel Heath

In a day full of big headlines, the Texans took care of some less conspicuous business. Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the club tendered RFA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn at the second-round level ($3.095MM). That was a no-brainer for Houston, as Fairbairn turned in an excellent season in 2018, nailing 88.1% of his field goals and sinking all of his attempts of less than 40 yards. He also made 39 of 41 extra point tries and led the NFL with 150 points.

The Texans also retained RFA linebacker Brennan Scarlett with a $2.025MM original round tender. Scarlett started three games for the club last year, compiling 18 tackles to go along with a forced fumble and an interception.

Houston did not tender defensive end Joel Heath, another RFA, but they did re-sign him to a one-year deal worth less than the $2.025MM original round tender. Heath appeared in five games last year but did not record a sack as he saw his usage decrease considerably from 2017.

None of these moves come as a surprise, as the Texans were expected to retain all of their restricted free agents. Houston also re-signed DE Angelo Blackson earlier today.

Texans Down To 75

The Texans have reached the 75-man roster limit with a handful of moves today. Defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan was waived with an injury settlement, linebacker Carlos Thompson was waived, and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn was put on injured reserve.

Fairbairn was competing with Nick Novak for the Texans’ starting job at kicker this offseason. Unfortunately, he suffered a quad injury along the way. The Texans like Fairbairn’s potential, however, and chose to keep him around by putting him on IR, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. Houston will evaluate him as an option for 2017.

Pagan, a sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft, was a member of Alabama’s 2011 and 2012 national championship teams. He skipped his senior year with the Crimson Tide to go pro. Thompson played in two games for Houston last season.

Texans Down To 78 On Roster

The Texans announced additional roster moves this afternoon, bringing their total count to 78 players on the roster. Here is a full rundown of all of their moves thus far today, including those disclosed earlier in the day:

Released:

  • DT Ra’Zahn Howard
  • WR Tevin Jones
  • LB Ryan Langford
  • WR Josh Lenz
  • OT Matt Pierson
  • LB Carlos Thompson
  • OT Arturo Uzdavinis

Injured Reserve:

  • S Kurtis Drummond
  • K Ka’imi Fairbairn
  • C Nick Martin (story)

PUP List:

Texans Sign 15 Undrafted Free Agents

The Texans issued a press release this afternoon, confirming three draft pick signings that had been previously reported. The team has yet to lock up its top three picks, but has secured fourth-round running back Tyler Ervin, fifth-round safety K.J. Dillon, and fifth-round defensive lineman D.J. Reader.

In addition to signing those draftees, the Texans also announced that they’ve added 15 undrafted free agents to their 90-man roster, supplementing their modest six-man draft class. Here are the 15 UDFAs currently on Houston’s roster: