Ka’imi Fairbairn

Texans To Activate CB Derek Stingley Jr. From IR

1:57pm: With Fairbairn set to miss some time, the team has officially made the decision to place him on IR. He’ll be out for at least four weeks now, so even though Ammendola is only getting called up for tomorrow, a permanent roster move to cover the kicker position is likely soon.

With two new vacancies on the 53-man roster, the Texans have opted to utilize their practice squad to fill one. The team announced that it will be signing practice squad offensive guard Dieter Eiselen to the active roster.

Lastly, joining Fairbairn as a standard gameday elevation will be practice squad tight end Dalton Keene. With Brevin Jordan one of eight inactives heading into Sunday’s trip to Cincinnati, Keene will step in to back up Dalton Schultz and Eric Saubert.

9:45am: It sounds like Derek Stingley Jr. will be in the lineup when the Texans take on the Bengals tomorrow. The team is set to activate the cornerback from injured reserve, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has confirmed the news.

Stingley landed on injured reserve back in September after suffering a hamstring injury during practice. The Texans opened his 21-day activation window earlier this week when the cornerback returned to practice.

While the return to practice was obviously a positive development for Stingley, it sounded like the team was proceeding with caution with the former third-overall pick. Since Stingley had been sidelined for more than a month, the Texans were reportedly going to give the defender as much time as he needed to get into game shape. Apparently, it didn’t take all that long, as Stingley is set to be activated only days after being designated for return.

The LSU product hasn’t necessarily lived up to his third-overall-pick billing, but that’s mostly been thanks to injury. Stingley collected 43 tackles, one interception, and five passes defended to begin his rookie campaign, but a hamstring injury suffered in Week 10 ultimately forced him to miss the rest of the season. He had nine tackles in two starts to begin this season before landing on injured reserve.

To make room on the roster, the Texans have waived offensive lineman Austin Deculus. The 2022 sixth-round pick has seen time in 13 games over the past two seasons for Houston, including seven appearances (one start) this season. He was waived at the end of the preseason before landing on the practice squad, and there’s a good chance he follows a similar path this time around.

The Texans made one additional move as they prepare for Week 10. Per Wilson, the team has promoted kicker Matt Ammendola from the practice squad as a standard gameday elevation. Ka’imi Fairbairn is set to miss a handful of weeks while recovering from a strained quadriceps, so Houston will temporarily roll with the journeyman kicker. Ammendola has spent time with six different organizations since going undrafted out of Oklahoma State in 2020. He’s seen time in 15 career games, connecting on 18 of his 26 field goal attempts and 19 of his 22 extra point tries.

Texans DT Hassan Ridgeway Suffers Achilles Tear; K Ka’imi Fairbairn Could Miss Time

During the Texans’ dramatic win in Week 9, their defense and special teams units suffered injuries. Their D-line will be shorthanded while the team could be in need of a kicker in the near future.

Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway suffered a torn Achilles in the victory over the Buccaneers, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reports. That will require surgery, and his season will be over as a result. The 29-year-old signed a one-year, $4MM deal in free agency in a move which allowed him to follow head coach DeMeco Ryans from San Francisco to Houston. He had been in the starting lineup due to Sheldon Rankins‘ absence.

Ridgeway was activated from IR in time for Week 9, but his return has proven to be short-lived. In all, Ridgeway’s 2023 campaign will have consisted of just 62 defensive snaps and six tackles. As Wilson notes, the Texans are hopeful Rankins will be able to play in Week 10, a development which would soften the blow of the lost depth along the defensive interior.

In other injury news, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn – who exited Sunday’s win with a quad injury – could miss time. Wilson reports he is set to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of his injury, but there is already “concern” within the team that a multi-game absence could ensue. Houston managed a last-minute victory in Week 9 in part with several two-point attempts, but backup running back Dare Ogunbowale made his only field goal attempt during the contest.

Fairbairn, 29, has enjoyed another strong season, his seventh with the Texans. He has converted 18 of 19 field goal attempts (including every one from inside 50 yards), as well as all 14 of his extra point kicks. That has him on track to increase what is already a very strong career average on FGs (86.5%), and his absence would obviously be acutely felt. It will be interesting to see how the 4-4 Texans proceed in search of a short-term Fairbairn replacement if one does indeed become necessary.

NFL Restructures: Matthews, Hughes, Fairbairn

Here are a few details on recent contact restructures from around the league:

  • The Falcons made a move recently to restructure the deal of veteran offensive tackle Jake Matthews in order to clear some cap space, according to Field Yates of ESPN. Atlanta converted $9.5MM of Matthews’ 2023 base salary into a signing bonus. The move freed up approximately $7.13MM of cap space.
  • Defensive end Jerry Hughes agreed to a restructured deal with the Texans today, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. The move converts $2.67MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, clearing about $2.14MM of cap space for Houston. The deal also added four void years to the end of his deal to assist in spreading out the cap hit of the deal over time.
  • The Texans also took the opportunity today to restructure the contract of kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, according to Wilson. Fairbairn did a similar adjustment for the team in 2022, in order to clear some cap space. While the exact details of today’s deal have not been released, Fairbairn’s payout in 2023 is expected to remain the same.

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.