Rex Burkhead

Latest On Texans’ RB Room

Much of the talk around the Texans’ 2022 offense is centered on second-year QB Davis Mills, but improving on last season’s league-worst rushing attack would give the unit a much-needed boost. The team’s first depth chart offers an important look into the team’s plans at the running back position. 

Houston has listed Marlon Mack as the lead back, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link). The 26-year-old signed in April to try and rebuild his value after two disappointing campaigns with the Colts. He has played just seven games during that span, which was preceded by a two-year stretch in which he produced 1,999 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns.

Compared to the Colts’ backfield, which is now led by Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, Mack should have a clearer path to a significant workload. He will be in competition with fellow veteran Rex Burkhead, who led the team with 427 rushing yards last season. Those two will be joined by fourth-round rookie Dameon Pierce at the top of the depth chart, which also includes Dare Ogunbowale and Royce Freeman.

A committee approach would come as little surprise at this point, given the lack of known commodities amongst the group. A return to his previous form from Mack would, however, be a welcomed sight for both the rebuilding team and his free agent value next offseason. Failing that, more attention being given to Pierce – who averaged 5.5 yards per carry during his career at Florida – during the course of the season could be expected.

Another member of the Texans’ RB room (at least for the time being) is Darius Anderson. The TCU alum had a burglary charge against him dropped last week, but he will still not be on the field in 2022. Wilson tweets that Anderson suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. That means the soon-to-be 25-year-old will wait at least one more year to make his NFL debut, and the Texans will have a slightly clearer outlook on an important position group heading into the season.

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, Rex Burkhead Agree On Extension

The Texans have used a host of veteran running backs this season. Some remain on the roster, while others are now elsewhere. The team identified Rex Burkhead as one it wants to keep around beyond this season.

The ninth-year veteran back agreed to terms on an extension, Sarah Barshop of reports (on Twitter). Burkhead’s new deal is set to run through the 2022 season.

Although Burkhead spent the first eight seasons of his career as a role player and a valued backup, the Texans have turned to him as their top runner in recent weeks. In Week 16 against the Chargers he delivered a career-best performance, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. That yardage total topped Burkhead’s previous single-game best by 30 yards. After logging no more than four carries in a game through the first 10 weeks of the season, Burkhead has totaled 102 since. The Nebraska alum has gained 403 yards on 110 carries this season.

A former Bengals sixth-round pick, Burkhead rushed for just 31 yards over his first three seasons and played behind Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Burkhead signed with the Patriots in 2017 and became a more prominent contributor, scoring eight touchdowns for the 2017 AFC champion Pats outfit and helping their 2018 squad win Super Bowl LIII. The Texans gave Burkhead a one-year, $1.5MM deal in June.

Burkhead, 31, joined Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and David Johnson as seasoned vets in Houston’s backfield this year. Only Burkhead and Johnson remain on the team, and the previous Texans regime famously brought in Johnson. The ex-Cardinal All-Pro’s contract expires after this season. So does recent waiver claim Royce Freeman‘s. The Texans will need to make new plans at running back for 2022, but Burkhead is in line to be part of the team’s next backfield at age 32.

Mark Ingram Could Be ‘Odd Man Out’ W/ Texans RBs?

Mark Ingram signed a one-year deal worth “up to” $3MM with the Texans back in March, but he’s apparently not guaranteed to make the team.

Houston has been busy beefing up their running backs room, and they just signed Rex Burkhead last month. It’s now “unlikely” that the team will keep all of Ingram, Burkhead, David Johnson, and Phillip Lindsay, Sarah Barshop of writes. Since she notes the Texans just restructured Johnson’s contract this offseason which gave him more guaranteed money for 2021, Barshop says he’ll “probably make the team”

That could make Ingram the “odd man out.” Ingram got a $500K signing bonus from Houston, but it sounds like they might end up eating that. Lindsay is only 26 and has shown plenty of flashes with the Broncos, so his spot on a rebuilding team that needs younger guys should be assured.

That likely means Ingram and Burkhead will be battling it out for one roster spot, so either way it seems as if one well-known veteran will be getting the axe. Ingram will turn 32 in December and had a down year last season, but was a Pro Bowler as recently as 2019.

He spent the first eight years of his career with the Saints before ending up in Baltimore for the last two. Burkhead turned 31 last week and spent the past four seasons in a part-time role with the Patriots.

Details On Rex Burkhead’s Texans Deal

Earlier this week, the Texans added Rex Burkhead to their revamped running back group. Turns out, it didn’t cost them much. Burkhead’s one-year deal is worth $1.5MM, with his $125K signing bonus representing the only guaranteed cash (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). 

The Texans already seemed pretty well set at RB with Pro Bowlers Mark Ingram, David Johnson, and Phillip Lindsay in place. However, new GM Nick Caserio couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reunite with his old Patriots pal. With a mere $125K committed to the veteran, it’s hard to knock the move.

Burkhead, 30, comes to the Texans with ample experience and a reputation for soft hands out of the backfield. Across his 41 games in New England, Burkhead caught 96 passes for 856 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards per grab. He also ran for 1,026 yards on the ground, giving him a respectable 4.1 yards per tote average.

Unfortunately, Burkhead finished 2020 early, thanks to a November ACL tear. In ten games, he ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He also had 25 receptions for 192 yards and three TDs.

Now, he’ll compete with lesser known backs like Scottie Phillips, Buddy Howell, and Dontrell Hilliard for a spot on the roster. And, if he doesn’t outshine them, the Texans can shed his deal without tying up the books.

Texans Sign Rex Burkhead

The Texans have signed Rex Burkhead, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The ex-Patriots running back will join fellow newcomers Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay in the Texans’ new-look group.

Burkhead, 30, ended the season on IR, thanks to a November ACL tear. Before that, he was enjoying another solid season as the Pats’ change-of-pace back. Through ten games, the 30-year-old collected 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He also had 25 receptions for 192 yards and three scores.

The Texans now count seven RBs on their 90-man offseason roster. Burkhead works to carve out a role, he’ll have plenty of familiar faces around. Texans GM and longtime Patriots exec Nick Caserio has imported lots of players from New England, including offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, wide receiver Donte Moncrief, and defensive end Derek Rivers.

David Johnson and Ingram still project to serve as the lead backs, with support from Lindsay. Assuming all three stick, there’s probably only one more RB spot up for grabs in Houston.

Patriots Place OL Isaiah Wynn, RB Rex Burkhead On IR

A trio of Patriots players landed on injured reserve today. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that New England has placed running back Rex Burkhead, left tackle Isaiah Wynn, and nose tackle Carl Davis on IR.

The Burkhead move isn’t overly surprising; the veteran RB suffered a torn ACL last weekend, ending his season. Now in his fourth year with New England, the veteran was having another solid season as a change-of-pace back. Through 10 games, the 30-year-old collected 274 yards and three touchdowns on 67 carries. He had another 25 receptions for 192 yards and three scores.

While the Patriots will surely miss Burkhead’s veteran presence, the team does have a number of options at running back. Damien Harris has emerged as a solid option in the running game, and Cam Newton can still turn to pass-catcher James White. The team is also rostering former first rounder Sony Michel, who could return this weekend after having been sidelined since Week 3.

Wynn, a 2018 first-rounder, was limited to only eight games through his first two seasons in the NFL. However, in 2020, he’s emerged as one of New England’s best offensive lineman, and he’s shown versatility by playing both offensive tackle and offensive guard. The 24-year-old suffered a knee injury during last weekend’s loss to the Texans, but the lineman could theoretically return before the season is over.

Davis, 28, joined the Patriots after being signed off the Jaguars practice squad in October. The defensive lineman has seen time in three games for New England this season, collecting three tackles. He’s appeared in 39 career games (13 starts) with the Patriots, Ravens, Browns, Jaguars, and Colts.

Patriots Fear Rex Burkhead Has Torn ACL

It’s just not the Patriots’ year. New England lost another game at the last minute Sunday, and it looks like they’ll be without a key piece of the offense the rest of the way.

The Pats fear running back Rex Burkhead has a torn ACL, a source told Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). Howe adds that he’ll get an MRI to confirm, but initial field tests for ACL tears are extremely accurate and almost never wrong. He was never a featured back in New England, but he’s played a consistent role for Bill Belichick over the past four years. He’ll finish the season with 67 carries for 274 yards and three touchdowns, adding 25 catches for 192 yards and another three scores through the air.

A sixth-round pick of the Bengals back in 2013, Burkhead was signed by Belichick after his rookie deal expired in 2017. Burkhead is now set to be an unrestricted free agent again this spring, and he’ll be 31 by the time next season starts. With the Pats having youngsters Damien Harris and Sony Michel in the backfield, it’s certainly possible they’ll decide to move on. That being said he remained productive this season, and was actually seeing a little bit more volume than in years past.

If this is the end of his run with the Patriots, he’ll finish it having won Super Bowl LIII with the team. At his age and now coming off the ACL tear he’ll struggle for much guaranteed money on the market, assuming he decides to keep playing.

Patriots’ Rex Burkhead Takes Pay Cut

Patriots running back Rex Burkhead has agreed to a pay cut. Instead of $2.5MM in base pay for 2020, Burkhead is now slated for $1.05MM with a $550K signing bonus, Field Yates of tweets. Burkhead will also see his available roster bonuses dip from $500K to $400K. The move opens up $981K in cap space for the Pats and, ostensibly, solidifies Burkhead’s spot on the roster.

Burkhead joined the Pats on a one-year, $3.15MM free agent contract in 2017. In Year One, Burkhead racked up more than 500 all-purpose yards with eight touchdowns in just ten games. Then, the Pats re-upped him on a three-year deal. All in all, he’s averaged a solid 4.0 yards per carry in New England, though he’s played in just 31 games across three years.

The Patriots are hoping to see a healthy Burkhead in 2020, but they’re not necessarily banking on him either. With James White, Sony Michel, Damien Harris, and Brandon Bolden also on the RB depth chart, they’ll be well-protected.

Heading into Tuesday, the Patriots had less than $500K in available cap room. After tweaking Burkhead’s deal, they’re in slightly better shape.

AFC Notes: Kraft, Patriots, Bengals

Patriots owner Robert Kraft might not be out of the woods just yet. We heard a few days ago that a judge had ruled in favor of Kraft’s legal team to suppress video evidence in his case that had allegedly been obtained illegally. It was a major procedural win for Kraft, and indicated he might get out of his situation without being convicted of anything. That being said, the government isn’t going down without a fight. Prosecutors are appealing the judges decision, and are looking to get the video evidence reinstated, per T.J. Quinn of

Kraft’s attorney William Burck celebrated the news, saying it was a sign that the government’s case was very weak without the tape. The lead prosecutor is “acknowledging he has no case without the illegal video recordings that four Florida judges have now found to be unconstitutional,” Burck said. “No evidence means no trial. So the state had only two options — drop the case or appeal. They chose to appeal, but we are confident the appellate court will agree with Judge Hanser and the other judges who threw out their illegally obtained evidence.” Even if Burck is right and the state eventually drops the case, the Patriots boss could still face discipline from the league. How likely Roger Goodell is to issue punishment without a conviction is anyone’s guess. We’ll keep you updated when a ruling on the appeal comes in.

Here’s more from the AFC on a quiet Sunday afternoon:

  • Speaking of the Patriots, they now have a very crowded running backs room. James White, Sony Michel, core special teamer Brandon Bolden (who just got $2MM guaranteed to return to New England), and last month’s third round pick Damien Harris all seem like locks to make the roster and be active on game-days. As such, Rex Burkhead could be the odd-man out, writes Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Howe doesn’t think the Pats will cut Burkhead as long as he’s healthy, but he could be facing an uphill battle to be on the active-46 on Sundays. Howe points out that Bill Belichick is usually pretty steadfast about keeping only four running backs active, but he could make an exception if Burkhead’s special teams prowess is deemed too valuable. Burkhead is heading into the second year of a three-year extension he signed in March of 2018, and it’s not inconceivable he could be cut this offseason. Injuries limited him to just eight games last year, and ten in 2017.
  • John Ross didn’t participate in the Bengals’ veterans voluntary minicamp last month due to “tightness,” per Geoff Hobson of the team’s official site. This isn’t necessarily major news, but it’s notable because of Ross’ lengthy history with lower body injuries. Groin issues forced Ross to miss a few games last year, and he only played in three games as a rookie due to shoulder and knee issues, so it’s troubling he’s dealing with any sort of “tightness.” The ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft has proven he can be a burner, but not much else. We heard back in February the team was shopping the young wideout, but the Bengals pushed back on those reports soon after. New Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor has promised Ross a fresh start, but he’ll need to stay healthy to get that. He’ll have his work cut out for him carving out targets behind A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, who are entrenched as the first and second options. If he wants to avoid being labeled as a bust, he needs a big 2019.