Ka’imi Fairbairn

Contract Details: Watt, Rams, Texans

With teams preparing their cap sheets for the start of the NFL season, we’ve seen a number of front offices rework some contracts. We’ve compiled some of the recent contract maneuverings (as well as some details on recent signings and extension) below:

  • T.J. Watt, LB (Steelers): restructured contract yesterday, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The move opened $6.75MM in space for Pittsburgh. Watt inked a four-year deal worth up to $112MM (including $80MM guaranteed) last September.
  • Rob Havenstein, OT (Rams): three-year extension. The deal is worth $34.5MM, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). The extension includes $24.1MM guaranteed and offers $6MM in incentives.
  • Tyler Higbee, TE (Rams): restructured contract earlier this week, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The team converted $4.75MM of Higbee’s base salary into a signing bonus, creating $3.8MM in space.
  • Jalen Thompson, S (Cardinals): three-year extension. The $40MM deal includes $24.5MM in guaranteed money and a $10MM signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter).
  • Lane Johnson, OT and Jake Elliott, K (Eagles): restructured contracts today, according to Yates (on Twitter). The Eagles converted $5.88MM of Johnson’s base salary and $2.715MM of Elliot’s base salary into signing bonuses, creating about $6.9MM in cap space.
  • O.J. Howard, TE (Texans): one-year deal. The contract is worth $1.035MM, according to Wilson (on Twitter). The tight end will receive $910K in offset from the $1.945MM guaranteed base salary he got from his previous deal with the Bills. When coupled with the $1.25MM signing bonus he got from Buffalo, Howard will earn a total of $3.25MM this year.
  • Eric Murray, S (Texans): restructured contract yesterday, per Yates (on Twitter). Specifically, the team converted $1.465MM of his contract into a signing bonus, opening $732.5K in cap space.
  • Ka’imi Fairbairn, K and Cameron Johnston, P (Texans): restructured contracts earlier this week, per Wilson (on Twitter). The two moves saved the Texans $2.1MM in cap savings.

Texans Place Brandin Cooks On Reserve/COVID-19 List

On the cusp of his sixth 1,000-yard receiving season, Brandin Cooks may not be able to push for that again until next week. He landed on the Texans’ reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.

The Texans also placed kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn and linebacker Eric Wilson on their coronavirus list. This trio joins several others at present. Although the NFL relaxed protocols to allow for quicker returns for vaccinated players, this will still be a hurdle for Cooks and Co.

The thrice-traded wide receiver eclipsed 100 yards and scored two touchdowns in Houston’s win over Jacksonville last week. Cooks is now up to 947 yards this season. The eighth-year veteran would have two more chances to surpass 1,000 yards, in the event he is cleared before Week 17.

Cooks and Fairbairn are believed to be vaccinated, but David Culley said last week Wilson was not. The veteran defender will miss the team’s Week 16 game against the Chargers. Missing Sunday’s game would be another setback for Fairbairn, who began the season in Week 4 after an IR placement in September.

Texans Waive K Joey Slye

Joey Slye‘s initial stint as the Texans’ kicker will end after three games. The Texans waived the young specialist Thursday, clearing the way for Ka’imi Fairbairn‘s return.

Houston stashed Fairbairn on IR to start the season. After three games, the team designated its longtime kicker to return. Fairbairn, who has been the Texans’ kicker since 2017, suffered a hamstring injury while warming up for Houston’s preseason finale.

The Texans picked up Slye shortly after the Panthers waived him. Slye is 4-for-5 in field goals to start his third season and 7-for-8 on extra points. The Panthers cut him to go with trade acquisition Ryan Santoso, but the team moved on from Santoso after one game. Zane Gonzalez currently serves as Carolina’s kicker.

Should Slye pass through waivers unclaimed, he could return to Houston’s practice squad. While only six teams currently carry an extra kicker on their taxi squad, the Texans opted for this strategy to start the season. The Texans initially added Slye on a P-squad deal before promoting him ahead of Week 1, though they did so knowing Fairbairn was set to miss time.

Texans Place K Ka’imi Fairbairn On IR

The Texans’ Joey Slye insurance addition will end up being necessary immediately. Ka’imi Fairbairn will land on IR to start the season, Sports Talk 790’s Aaron Wilson tweets.

A pulled groin will sideline Fairbairn for at least three weeks, putting Slye in position to begin the season as Houston’s kicker. The Texans worked out the former Panthers specialist Tuesday and signed him to their practice squad.

These will be Fairbairn’s first missed games since he began his Texans tenure in 2017. The Hawaii alum has been one of the NFL’s better kickers over the past four seasons, and his performance led Houston to greenlight an extension in 2020. Fairbairn, 27, has made at least 80% of his field goal tries in each of his four NFL seasons. Fairbairn, who is set to earn a $3.45MM base salary this season, is signed through 2023.

Slye cleared the 80% barrier as a rookie, barley, and would have done so last season. But the Panthers trotted him out for 65- and 67-yard attempts during games against the Saints and Chiefs, respectively. Carolina cut Slye last month, turning to trade acquisition Ryan Santoso. But Slye will land on his feet to start the season.

Texans Notes: Fairbairn, Taylor, Carter

The Texans have been busy recently and they kept up the activity Sunday, inking cornerback Bradley Roby to a new three-year deal. They signed kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn to an extension last week, and now we have the details on that agreement. Fairbairn got $9MM guaranteed in his four-year, $17.65MM deal, and he got a $3MM signing bonus, sources told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. He has a fully guaranteed $4MM salary for 2020 with a $4.75MM cap hit. In 2021 he has a base salary of $4MM as well, with $2MM of it being guaranteed. His base salaries in 2022 and 2023 are $3.55MM and $3.65MM respectively, with both of those years being non-guaranteed.

Here’s more from Houston:

  • The Texans were slated to workout former Broncos receiver Jordan Taylor but that has now been scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson tweets. It’s a tough blow for Taylor, who has been fighting to regain his footing in the league since a hip injury ended his time with Denver. After spending 2018 on the Broncos’ PUP list, he was with the Vikings last preseason. Nicknamed ‘Sunshine’, Taylor became a fan favorite during his time in Denver.
  • We also have the financial details on another recent Texans extension, returner-receiver DeAndre Carter. Wilson tweets that Carter’s one-year deal is worth $660K. A 2015 UDFA from Sacramento State, Carter finally broke through with Houston in 2018 after spending years bouncing around various practice squads. He returned punts and kicks for the Texans this past year while also contributing a little on offense, catching 11 passes for 162 yards. His season ended on a low note, as Carter had a crucial lost fumble on a kickoff return during the Texans’ playoff loss to the Chiefs.

Texans, Ka’imi Fairbairn Agree To Extension

The Texans have struck a new deal with kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. It’s a fresh four-year deal worth $17.65MM, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). The pact includes $9MM in guaranteed money and positions him as the third-highest paid kicker in the NFL in terms of average annual value.

[RELATED: Texans, TE Darren Fells Agree To Extension]

Before the deal, Fairbairn was slated to reach unrestricted free agency. The new deal will keep him under contract through the 2023 season.

Since coming to Houston in 2017, Fairbairn has connected on 77 of 92 field goal tries and 111 of his 121 extra point attempts. He’ll try to keep up the good special teams work along with punter Bryan Anger, who recently re-upped with the team on a a three-year, $8.25MM deal.

The new deal marks a nice pay bump for Fairbairn, who collected a $3.095MM salary last year.

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.

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.

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.