Dare Ogunbowale

Texans Re-Sign RB Dare Ogunbowale

The Texans have re-signed running back Dare Ogunbowale, per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. It is a one-year deal, with no financial details available at this time.

Houston was connected to a running back addition this offseason, and while the team did not land a premier free agent like Saquon Barkley, it did swing a trade for longtime Bengals RB Joe Mixon. While it is fair to question the wisdom of trading for a back with Mixon’s mileage while allowing Devin Singletary — who played well in 2023, his first and only season in Houston — to depart in free agency, the fact that the Texans subsequently extended Mixon underscores their faith in him.

The club currently has third-year pro Dameon Pierce as its RB2. Pierce played well in his rookie campaign but cratered last season, mustering a meager 2.9 yards-per-carry average on 145 rushing attempts after boasting a 4.2 YPC rate on 220 totes the year before. Rounding out the RB depth chart are J.J. Taylor, who did not play a single snap in 2023, and Gerrid Doaks, who has yet to see any regular season action since being selected by the Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2021 draft.

Clearly, then, there was a need for the Texans to add to the running back room, and they did so by reuniting with Ogunbowale, who just finished the two-year, $3.3MM deal he signed with the club in March 2022. Though he carried the ball just eight times last season, he will at least reprise his role as a core special teams player — he appeared in 68% of Houston’s third phase snaps in 2023 and 61% in 2022 — even if he does not get more looks on offense.

Ogunbowale, who will turn 30 next month, does have some kickoff returns on his resume, and it is possible he will compete for work as a returner in light of the league’s revised kickoff rules. Of course, he made headlines last season when he converted a 29-yard-field goal attempt as the Texans’ emergency kicker in a Week 9 victory over the Bucs.

Houston, which clinched the AFC South by a one-game margin in 2023, defeated Tampa Bay 39-37 in that contest.

Texans Eyeing Free Agent Running Backs?

After Dameon Pierce struggled during his sophomore campaign, the Texans could be in the market for a new starting running back. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there’s buzz around the NFL that the Texans could try to improve at the position as they look to take some of the load off quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Pierce appeared to be the team’s RB of the future following his standout rookie campaign. The 2022 fourth-round pick finished his first season in the NFL with 1,104 yards from scrimmage, the third-most among rookie RBs (behind Kenneth Walker and Tyler Allgeier).

However, Pierce couldn’t replicate that production in 2023. He didn’t top four yards-per-rush in any of his first seven starts, and following a three-game inactive streak, he was firmly behind Devin Singletary on the depth chart.

Over those final seven games, Pierce only garnered 36 carries, and he was limited to only six offensive snaps in the postseason. In total, Pierce finished this past season with 517 yards from scrimmage on 158 touches, good for an average of 3.3 yards per touch. Pro Football Focus ultimately graded him 47th among 59 qualifying RBs.

Singletary topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage for a third-straight season, but the veteran is set to hit free agency. While there’s a chance he could look to extend his stay in Houston beyond one season, there’s no guarantee he’ll be back. Dare Ogunbowale is also an impending free agent, so the Texans will need to add some depth at the position.

While the organization could look to reset the position at the draft, it sounds like they’re considering using a chunk of their $60MM-plus in cap space at the RB position. Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard, and Austin Ekeler lead the list of free agent RBs heading into the offseason.

Latest On Texans’ Running Backs Room

The Texans finished the 2021 NFL season ranked dead-last in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and rushing yards per carry. Houston has made some moves to address the position and the room will look fairly different at camp this summer. 

Last year saw four Texans’ running backs start games. Three of those running backs are no longer on the roster. Mark Ingram returned to New Orleans midway through last season, Phillip Lindsay signed this offseason with the Colts, and David Johnson hit the free agent market and has yet to sign with a new team. While losing three players who started games may sound significant, the three backs combined last year to rush for only 652 yards and 2 touchdowns while averaging only 3.12 yards per carry.

Houston returns their leading rusher last year, Rex Burkhead. Burkhead, who turns 32 next month, racked up the highest rushing total of his career last year in his ninth season, totaling 427 yards on the ground. Burkhead has been a third-down type of running back throughout his career, recording more receiving yards than rushing in tw0 of his nine years. The Texans also return Royce Freeman, who was claimed off waivers in early-November last year.

To address the struggling run-game, Houston made two big moves. The first move they made was to sign free agent running back Marlon Mack in the weeks leading up to the Draft. Mack spent five seasons in Indianapolis, starting as a backup to Frank Gore. Once Gore left in free agency, Mack took the starting job and, despite missing six games in the next two years, was 92 yards away from two-consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. In 2020, a torn Achilles in Week 1 ended Mack’s season and opened the door for then-rookie Jonathan Taylor to take the reins. Taylor quickly took over, finishing second in Offensive Player of the Year voting last year. In his final year with the Colts, Mack took a backseat to Taylor and Nyheim Hines as he was only active in six games.

The second move Houston made was drafting Florida running back Dameon Pierce in the fourth-round of the Draft. Pierce had the best year of his career in his senior season while splitting carries with Malik Davis and Nay’quan Wright. Pierce only rushed for 574 yards in his final season as a Gator, but his physical playing-style led to him leading the team with 16 touchdowns from scrimmage, 13 of those being on the ground.

So who is taking the lead for Houston next season? According to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the Texans will have a committee-approach at running back this year. They have built a room that holds quite a few skill sets necessary for a successful position group. Mack is expected to take the lead back role, as he’s the only one with experience and success in that role. Although Mack runs with the same physical, attacking style as Pierce, Pierce’s presence should allow Mack a bit of a reprieve in those short-yardage and goal-line situations. Burkhead should be able to return to his role as a receiving, third-down back. Freeman has experience spelling starters as a reliable backup, and can continue to do so in any role asked of him. Houston also brought in former-Jaguar Dare Ogunbowale who has plenty of experience as a backup, as well. They also roster Darius Anderson, who will likely serve as a camp body this summer.

With Mack, Pierce, and Burkhead, Houston has specialists for three different situations. If they need or want more bodies on the 53-man roster, Freeman, Ogunbowale, and the young Anderson can compete for that fourth slot. The improvements needed for the run-game need to come from several areas: offensive line make-up, success in the passing-game to take pressure off, down-field blocking from receivers and tight ends, etc. The first-step, though, is to have players who can run, and Houston has drastically renovated their running backs room in an attempt to get out of the basement of rushing offenses.


Texans Sign RB Dare Ogunbowale

Dare Ogunbowale is off to Houston. The running back is signing with the Texans, reports Mike Garafolo (via Twitter).

The former Jaguars RB got a two-year, $3.3 million from Houston.

Ogunbowale actually got his first NFL gig with the Texans after going undrafted out of Wisconsin in 2017. It took him until 2019 to stick around for an entire NFL season when he got into 16 games for the Buccaneers. He finished that season with 303 yards from scrimmage, which still represents a career high.

The RB joined Jacksonville in 2020, and he saw time in 31 games for the organization over the past two years. He finished his Jaguars career having collected 450 yards from scrimmage and two scores. Ogunbowale also contributed on special teams, collecting 17 tackles during his two years in Jacksonville.

In Houston, he’ll be joining a depth chart that’s currently led by Rex Burkhead. Both David Johnson and Royce Freeman are currently free agents.


RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/16/22

Here’s a look at the latest tender decisions from around the NFL:






Minor NFL Transactions: 4/19/21

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on reserve-retired list: LB Jordan Mack; Mack opted out of the 2020 season

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

  • Re-signed: RB Sandro Platzgummer

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Jaguars To Sign RB Dare Ogunbowale

The Jaguars are signing free agent running back Dare Ogunbowale, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Released by the Buccaneers last week after they signed fellow running back Leonard Fournette, Ogunbowale didn’t last long on the open market.

Jacksonville, of course, was the club that released Fournette, and it will now add Ogunbowale to a backfield that also includes Chris Thompson, Devine Ozigbo, and undrafted rookie free agent James Robinson, the latter of whom is listed as the nominal starter for Week 1.

Ogunbowale’s skill set would seem to overlap with that of Thompson. Both are running backs who excel in the passing game — the 26-year-old Ogunbowale caught 35 passes in 2019 on just 361 offensive snaps, but rushed just 11 times for 17 yards.

An undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin in 2017, Ogunbowale will likely contribute immediately on the Jaguars’ special teams unit. He was a core special teamer for the Buccaneers last season, playing more than 60% of Tampa Bay’s ST snaps.

Prior to signing with Jacksonville, Ogunbowale visited the Raiders, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Las Vegas was on the lookout for another pass-catching back after trading rookie Lynn Bowden to the Dolphins last week.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/4/20

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

  • Waived: DT Hinwa Allieu, FB Mikey Daniel, T Evin Ksiezarczyk, RB Craig Reynolds

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Released: DE Caraun Reid
  • Waived: RB Nathan Cottrell, TE Matthew Flanagan, OL Blake Hance, OL K.C. McDermott, OL Garrett McGhin, LS Matthew Orzech, OL Ryan Pope, OL Austen Pleasants, WR Marvelle Ross

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC South Injury Notes: Cappa, Little, Lindstrom, Logan

The Buccaneers will be without starting right guard Alex Cappa this week, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. Cappa sustained an elbow injury in Tampa Bay’s game against the Jaguars this past Sunday. Head coach Bruce Arians removed Cappa from the game in hopes that the precaution could allow Cappa to play this week, but unfortunately the injury is just too severe.

Veteran offensive lineman Earl Watford is behind Cappa on the depth chart and is expected to start in his place against the Colts. A six-year veteran, Watford has played all across the line, but is primarily an interior lineman. An injury earlier in the year forced Watford to start in place of Cappa for two games, so this will not be entirely unfamiliar territory for Tampa’s o-line.

Here’s some more injury notes from the NFC South:

  • Panthers tackle Greg Little was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Falcons with an ankle injury, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. While Little was selected with the 37th pick in this year’s draft by Carolina to immediately jump into their rotation along the line, injuries have limited him to only four appearances on the season. Little can play either tackle spot, but was listed as the team’s top left tackle on the depth chart. Fellow rookie Dennis Daley will likely return to the starting lineup in his place.
  • Rookie offensive guard Chris Lindstrom will return to the field for the first time since Week 1 for the Falcons. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta is activating Lindstrom from the injured reserve to start this week against the Panthers. The Falcons focused on solidifying their offensive line through the draft last offseason, selecting Lindstrom with the 14th overall pick and tackle Kaleb McGary later in the first round. Lindstrom, however, has been out since injuring his foot in the season opener and the offensive line has struggled mightily, allowing 38 sacks on the season.
  • Buccaneers running back T.J. Logan broke his thumb during practice and will be out for the remainder of the season, according to Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times. Logan has played a couple dozen offensive snaps on the season, accruing 23 yards from scrimmage. His primary role though, is as the team’s punt and kickoff returner. This season, Logan averaged 9.5 yards per return on 13 punt returns and 20.8 yards per return on 13 kick returns. Jenna Laine of ESPN reports that Justin Watson and Sean Murphy-Bunting will share punt return duties while Dare Ogunbowale handles kick returns in Logan’s absence.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 12/31/18

New Year’s Eve marks the first day eliminated teams can sign players to reserve/futures contracts. Here is the first wave of those decisions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins