Steven Sims

WR Notes: Texans, Patriots, Eagles, Cardinals

It’s easy to be excited about the Texans wide receiver corps in 2024. After Tank Dell and Nico Collins established a connection with C.J. Stroud in 2023, the organization added another major name in Stefon Diggs. With the Texans hoping to take a major step forward in 2024, the team can now boast that they’re armed with one of the best WR trios in the NFL.

One of the other players on the depth chart, Steven Sims, has gotten a first-hand look at his talented teammates, and he believes Houston’s wideouts are ready for some big plays during the upcoming campaign.

“We’ve got a great group,” Sims told Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston. “I can’t wait to get back to camp. It’s going to be so much fun. I feel like there’s going to be a lot of big plays, a lot of fun, but it’s a business and it’s work. It’s time to get back to work and I’m excited to go back to work with the group we’ve got I feel like from top to bottom everybody can get it done.”

Sims re-signed with the Texans this offseason after getting into three games with the team in 2023. He’ll be competing with the likes of John Metchie III and Ben Skowronek for reps behind the team’s top-three WRs.

More wideout notes from around the NFL…

  • Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston explores some of the Patriots wideout scenarios for the 2024 campaign, including the best-case scenario (which sees rookie Ja’Lynn Polk and second-year wideout DeMario Douglas break out) and the worst-case scenario (the team’s over-reliance on veterans JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kendrick Bourne). Curran believes the most-likely scenario is a bit of both, with the organization allowing the young players to show their stuff, especially as Bourne works his way back from a torn ACL. Curran says the team’s main wildcard at the position is free agent acquisition K.J. Osborn, who has already developed chemistry with presumed starting QB Jacoby Brissett.
  • Joseph Ngata spent the majority of his rookie campaign on Philly’s practice squad, and Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia believes the former UDFA is set to make the Eagles 53-man roster in 2024. As Zangaro notes, Ngata got some first-team reps during the spring,and he’s clearly ahead of some of the team’s other young wideouts. Parris Campbell is the likeliest of Philly’s non-star WRs to emerge, but Ngata should have an upper hand on fifth-round rookie Ainias Smith and sixth-round rookie Johnny Wilson.
  • Jess Root of Cards Wire notes that Cardinals undrafted rookie WR Xavier Weaver is likely to stick with the organization by virtue of his contract. The Colorado product got $225K in guaranteed money from Arizona, the equivalent to 18 weeks of practice squad salary. If the rookie is eventually waived, it’s unlikely a cash-strapped suitor would willingly add him to their 53-man roster. With four WR spots locked up in Arizona (Marvin Harrison Jr., Michael Wilson, Greg Dortch, and Zay Jones), Weaver will be hard pressed to earn a regular roster gig, but the Cardinals’ financial commitment shows they plan to keep the WR around their practice squad for the 2024 campaign.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/20/24

Wednesday’s minor transactions:

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Sims was not tendered by the Texans as a restricted free agent, but Houston found a way to bring him back on a new deal regardless. Sims is now five years removed from his rookie year in Washington, in which he caught for 310 yards and four touchdowns.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/10/24

During a busy day of transactions and headlines, teams still had time for a few free agent tender decisions:

RFAs

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

While Stoll, one of Philadelphia’s top backup tight ends, is not being tendered by the Eagles, the team has reportedly not ruled out a return. Similarly, Cox, Gore, Harris, Arnold, and Sims will all join Bowden in free agency, though the door remains open for their returns, as well.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/16/24

Tuesday’s minor moves:

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Signed off Jets practice squad: S Trey Dean

Sims has been elevated from the practice squad three times, so any further action required he be added to the active roster. The former UDFA has only seen 10 offensive snaps (making three catches) this season, his first with the Texans, though he has been used slightly more on special teams. Sims will look to fill the complementary role of Noah Brown to an extent, after the latter was placed on season-ending IR yesterday.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/16/23

Today’s minor transactions and standard gameday elevations for the Sunday slate of games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Wilkinson returned to practice this week, and will be eligible to return to the lineup on Sunday given today’s activation. The addition of a starter up front will be welcomed by the Cardinals by giving them stability at the left guard spot in particular and by providing an upgrade in protection ahead of a matchup against the stout 49ers defensive front in general. The Cardinals now have four IR activations remaining.

Street was acquired from the Eagles at the trade deadline after he failed to find playing time this season. The 27-year-old has started all five of his appearances in Atlanta, however, racking up 14 tackles (including four for a loss) and one sack. Those numbers will help his free agent market this offseason, but a pectoral injury will sideline him for at least four weeks. If the Falcons fall short of the postseason, therefore, Street will not return in 2023.

McCain was a full-time starter with the Commanders over the past two seasons, but his release led to a one-year Giants agreement. The former fifth-rounder has 87 starts to his name, but he has been unable to carve out a role in New York’s secondary, playing only 19 defensive snaps. McCain has logged a 50% snap share on special teams, however, so his absence in the third phase will be notable if he is claimed off waivers or signed as a free agent by an interested team.

Texans Activate C Juice Scruggs From IR

NOVEMBER 25: Finally, some good news for the Texans’ interior offensive line. After season-ending injuries to Quessenberry and Kenyon and Kendrick Green, and Patterson, the substitute starter at center, getting carted off with a broken fibula, nearly a month ago, Houston is finally getting some reinforcement. The team announced that they have officially activated Scruggs from injured reserve, allowing the second-round rookie to finally be available to potentially make his NFL debut. Whether or not he plays or starts has yet to be determined. He has only been back at practice since Wednesday and is trying to unseat the team’s fourth option at center, Dieter, who currently ranks as the NFL’s 23rd-best center, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

In order to make room for Scruggs on the active roster, the Texans have waived linebacker Garret Wallow. Wallow spent most of this year on the practice squad after being waived halfway through his rookie contract in the preseason. The former fifth-round pick started five games in his first two seasons but only made an appearance this year when he was promoted to the active roster a week ago. If he clears waivers, Wallow will almost certainly be retained on a practice squad contract.

Lastly, the Texans announced that cornerback Desmond King and wide receiver Steven Sims have been activated from the practice squad as standard gameday elevations for tomorrow’s divisional matchup against the Jaguars. King has appeared in three games this year for the Steelers after spending the past two seasons in Houston as a starter. The Texans brought him back to their p-squad this week. Sims was elevated last week and caught both his targets for 25 yards. Sims also took punt returner duties, fielding two for 16 yards.

NOVEMBER 22: Juice Scruggs has endured a long journey back from the hamstring injury he suffered during the preseason. The second-round Texans draftee has not yet made his NFL debut, despite his injury occurring in the team’s preseason finale.

The Texans have finally designated the Penn State product for return Wednesday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Scruggs, who was moving toward being the Texans’ starting center during training camp, now has three weeks to be activated from IR. No activation in that span will make this a true redshirt year for the high-end interior O-line prospect.

Making multiple trades for O-linemen in August, the Texans have also seen long-term injuries affect their front. Projected guard starter Kenyon Green is out for the season, and trade pickup Kendrick Green joins him on season-ending IR. The team’s primary center starter last season, Scott Quessenberry, suffered season-ending injuries — ACL and MCL tears — early during training camp. That paved the way for Scruggs, but his hamstring setback has thus far defined his rookie year.

The Texans will give the No. 62 overall pick a chance to change that soon. Houston has also dealt with center availability issues in-season. Jarrett Patterson started seven games this season, but the sixth-round rookie is on IR after being carted off the field in Week 8. Free agent pickup Michael Deiter resides as option 4 for the Texans; the ex-Dolphins third-rounder has started the past three games at center.

Houston has just two IR activations remaining this season. It stands to reason Scruggs will be given a shot to come back. Though, the 6-4 team is contending for a playoff spot. A key performer going down with a short-term injury now could still be brought back later this season, but the ascending team may need to keep players on the active roster in the event of multiweek injuries going forward. DeMeco Ryans‘ previous team ran into this issue, with the 49ers using all their IR activations during the 2022 regular season.

Scruggs has already needed to overcome obstacles to keep his career going. A 2019 car accident left his playing future in serious doubt. The 6-3, 315-pound blocker earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2022, cementing his status as one of the top interior linemen in this year’s class.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/18/23

This week’s callups and minor moves heading into Sunday:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers:

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Evans had been called up from the practice squad three times by the Cowboys, meaning he needed to be added to the 53-man roster this week to continue suiting up. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports “several teams” attempted to poach the veteran off the taxi squad, but his decision to remain with Dallas has culminated in today’s move. Evans has logged 74 combined defensive and special teams snaps with the Cowboys so far, recording three tackles.

James was out of the lineup for one game after being designated for return, but he will be eligible to suit up for the upcoming Super Bowl rematch against the Eagles. Mentioned as a trade candidate earlier this year, he will be able to add depth to a WR corps which has underperformed to date, and add to his single catch recorded in his two Kansas City games at the start of the campaign.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC South

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These ColtsJaguarsTexans and Titans moves are noted below.

Houston Texans

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Indianapolis Colts

Placed on IR:

Signed:

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad: 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Tennessee Titans

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Released:

Released from IR via injury settlement:

Texans Set 53-Man Roster

The Texans are in the midst of a rebuild, but that doesn’t make their roster decisions any easier. The organization ultimately settled on 53 players today:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/injured:

Placed on reserve/PUP:

Three veteran tight ends were let go in Mason Schreck, Eric Tomlinson, and Nick Vannett. Vannett has the most epxerience of the bunch, having seen time in 86 career games. He spent the 2022 seasons with the Giants and Saints, hauling in six catches. Tomlinson has appeared in 85 career games, including 34 over the past two seasons. He started 12 of his 17 appearances for Denver in 2022, serving mostly as an extra blocker.

Adam Humphries was an 800-yard receiver with the Buccaneers in 2018, but he’s compiled only 985 yards in three years since. He didn’t get into a game during the 2022 season, but he did haul in 41 catches for Washington in 2021.

Texans Add WR/KR Steven Sims

The Texans continue to be one of the most active teams in free agency this offseason, signing wide receiver and return specialist Steven Sims, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. Sims is, at the very least, poised to take over the kick return duties in Houston for 2023.

A former undrafted free agent out of Kansas in 2019, Sims signed with Washington and made the initial 53-man roster as a rookie. His first year in the league was his strongest offensively as he caught 34 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns. The versatile weapon added nine rush attempts for 85 yards and a touchdown. He also showed off his proficiency in the return game, fielding 32 kickoffs for 819 yards and a touchdown on a 91-yard return. In 2020, his offensive and kick return production diminished a bit, but he shouldered an increased workload returning punts.

Sims was released just prior to the 2021 season and spent six days with the Bills before getting released in final roster cuts. He was eventually signed to the Steelers’ practice squad but only appeared in one game that season. Sims would find his way back to the field in 2022, appearing in 12 games for Pittsburgh and starting two. Last year, his versatility was on full display. He only had 104 receiving yards but added 70 on the ground. He also spent equal time returning both punts and kicks for the first time last season, totaling 19 punt returns and 17 kickoff returns.

Sims projects as a depth piece offensively in Houston. The Texans receiving group should be led by Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and Noah Brown, with John Metchie, Amari Rodgers, and others competing for snaps behind them. With cornerback Tremon Smith signing a new deal with the Broncos, the Texans needed a new kick returner. That’s where Sims comes into play. Houston used cornerback Desmond King to return punts last season, but if the Texans can rely on Sims for punt returns, too, it would free up King to focus more on defense.

Sims probably won’t have fans chanting “MVP,” but he fills a need on the Texans roster. With his versatile abilities, Sims is low-risk, high-reward signing. He provides Houston with a needed who has the potential to be a Swiss Army knife on offense.