Tytus Howard

Texans To Use Tytus Howard At Tackle

Tytus Howard has split his time between the tackle and guard positions in three Texans seasons. With the team picking up the 2019 first-rounder’s fifth-year option, despite that selection coming two GMs ago, Howard remains in the organization’s beyond-2022 plans.

Despite this Houston coaching staff praising the former first-rounder’s versatility earlier this offseason, new HC Lovie Smith said during an appearance on the Cris Collinsworth Podcast (via Sports Radio 610’s Brandon Scott) that Howard will be back at tackle in 2022.

The Texans used Howard as a 10-game guard starter to start the 2021 season, but he fared better replacing Laremy Tunsil at left tackle. In Howard’s four blindside starts during the season’s second half, Pro Football Focus gave him an 89.9 pass-blocking grade. He allowed just two pressures during that four-start span, one that likely contributed to Houston’s decision to pick up his fully guaranteed $13.2MM option for 2022. PFF viewed Howard as a below-average guard, where he spent much of the season during David Culley‘s year in charge.

Howard looks set to return to right tackle, with Tunsil going into his fourth year as the Texans’ left-side starter. Howard spent most of his rookie season at right tackle and was a full-timer at that post in 2020. Smith confirmed, not that there was much doubt here, first-rounder Kenyon Green will play guard as a rookie.

The then-Brian Gaine-led Texans chose Howard 23rd overall out of Alabama State in 2019. The Division I-FCS product still has some time to mold himself into a quality starter. The Texans ensured that by picking up his option. It will be interesting to see how he fares, if given a full season at tackle, on a line that has another building block in Green. Tunsil, Howard and Green represent the three Texans cornerstones up front, though Tunsil was loosely mentioned as a trade candidate before his March restructure. The team re-signed center Justin Britt and added longtime Jaguars starting guard A.J. Cann this offseason.

2023 NFL Fifth-Year Option Results

Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.

Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:

1. QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals – Exercised ($29.7MM)
2. DE Nick Bosa, 49ers: Exercised ($17.9MM)
3. DE Quinnen Williams, Jets: Exercised ($11.5MM)
4. DE Clelin Ferrell, Raiders: Declined ($11.5MM)
5. LB Devin White, Buccaneers: Exercised ($11.7MM)
6. QB Daniel Jones, Giants: Declined ($22.4MM)
7. DE Josh Allen, Jaguars: Exercised ($11.5MM)
8. TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions: Exercised ($9.4MM)
9. DT Ed Oliver, Bills: Exercised ($10.8MM)
10. LB Devin Bush, Steelers: Declined ($10.9MM)
11. OT Jonah Williams, Bengals: Exercised ($12.6MM)
12. LB Rashan Gary, Packers: Exercised ($10.9MM)
13. DT Christian Wilkins, Dolphins: Exercised ($10.8MM)
14. G Chris Lindstrom, Falcons: Exercised ($13.2MM)
15. QB Dwayne Haskins:
16. DE Brian Burns, Panthers: Exercised ($16MM)
17. DT Dexter Lawrence, Giants: Exercised ($10.8MM)
18. C Garrett Bradbury, Vikings: Declined ($13.2MM)
19. DT Jeffery Simmons, Titans: Exercised ($10.8MM)
20. TE Noah Fant, Seahawks: Exercised ($6.9MM; originally drafted by Broncos)
21. S Darnell Savage, Packers: Exercised ($7.9MM)
22. OT Andre Dillard, Eagles: Declined ($12.6MM)
23. OT Tytus Howard, Texans: Exercised ($13.2MM)
24. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders: Declined ($8MM)
25. WR Marquise Brown, Cardinals: ($13.4MM; originally drafted by Ravens)
26. DE Montez Sweat, Commanders: Exercised ($11.5MM)
27. S Johnathan Abram, Raiders: Declined ($7.9MM)
28. DE Jerry Tillery, Chargers: Declined ($11.5MM)
29. DE L.J. Collier, Seahawks: Declined ($11.5MM)
30. CB Deandre Baker — N/A (released by Giants)
31. OT Kaleb McGary, Falcons: Declined ($13.2MM)
32. WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots: Declined ($12.4MM)

Texans Trade CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. To Chiefs

Lonnie Johnson Jr.‘s stint in Houston has come to an end. According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus (on Twitter), the Texans have traded the cornerback to the Chiefs. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), the Texans will receive a 2024 conditional seventh-round pick.

Johnson was a 2019 second-round pick by the Texans, but he failed to establish himself as a starter during his three years in Houston. The defensive back ultimately saw time in 44 games (19 starts) for the Texans, collecting 172 tackles. He seemed to take a step forward in 2021, as the 26-year-old finished with 55 tackles, three interceptions, and six passes defended.

The Texans weren’t done making moves today. Per Kyed (on Twitter), the Texans signed defensive Rasheem Green and waived/injured running back Scottie Phillips. Green, a 2018 fourth-round pick, spent his first four professional seasons with the Seahawks, including a 2021 campaign where he finished with a career-high 6.5 sacks in 17 games (16 starts). Phillips spent two years in Houston, collecting 38 yards from scrimmage.

The Texans have also added defensive end Mario Addison, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston (on Twitter). Addison is inking a two-year deal, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter). Following a long stint with the Panthers that saw him collect 55 sacks in 111 games, Addison spent the past two seasons with the Bills, where he added another 12 sacks in 32 games. The lineman played under current Texans defensive line coach Jacques Cesaire in Buffalo.

Finally, the Texans picked up the fifth-year option on offensive lineman Tytus Howard (per Rapoport on Twitter). Howard has started all 37 of his appearances in the NFL, but he’s missed 12 total games through his first three seasons. Howard has shown plenty of versatility during his NFL career, spending time at both tackle and guard.

Latest On Texans OL Tytus Howard, Team’s OL Plans

Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard, a 2019 first-round pick, spent the first two years of his career almost exclusively at right tackle. In 2021, he was shifted inside to left guard, and he played 11 games there, but he also suited up for four games at left tackle due to an injury to starting LT Laremy Tunsil. As Brooks Kubena of the Houston Chronicle writes, Howard’s role for the 2022 campaign remains unclear.

Per Pro Football Focus, Howard was much more effective at left tackle (73.75 pass-blocking grade) than left guard (47.7). However, former OC Tim Kelly and OL coach James Campen both praised Howard for his versatility and indicated he was improving as a guard, and new OL coach George Warhop concurs.

“I thought he did a nice job at guard,” Warhop said. “I mean, so to have that flexibility going into the season, to manage to get the five best on the field, I think that’s good for us.”

Assuming the Texans really do think Howard can be effective outside or on the interior, his versatility gives GM Nick Caserio a little more flexibility with his offseason strategies. Tunsil has been mentioned as a trade candidate, and Kubena confirms that the two-time Pro Bowler could be on the move, which would add more draft ammo to a stockpile that could become seriously impressive if Caserio is able to deal QB Deshaun Watson. Houston would then be able to slide Howard to LT — which was the intent when he was originally drafted — and would not necessarily have to use a high draft choice or FA dollars on an immediate Tunsil replacement.

On the other hand, as Kubena notes, Max Scharping and Justin McCray are the only interior linemen aside from Howard who started at least one game last year and who remain under contract through 2022. So depending on how the Texans’ offseason shakes out, the club may have no choice but to keep Howard at LG.

One way or another, Caserio will have to make a decision on Howard’s fifth-year option no later than May 2. If exercised, that option would lock in a $12.735MM fully-guaranteed salary for 2023, and while that sum would be more than reasonable for a starting-caliber LT, Howard’s small sample size at that position in the pros and his general lack of effectiveness at RT and LG seem to indicate that 2022 will serve as his contract year.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/4/22-1/5/22

Here are Tuesday and Wednesday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Jared Cook, LB Damon Lloyd (remains on IR)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/23/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Football Team

Laremy Tunsil To Undergo Thumb Surgery

The Texans will be without their top offensive lineman for the foreseeable future. Laremy Tunsil is slated to undergo thumb surgery Thursday, first-year Texans HC David Culley said.

Culley said Tunsil is expected to miss around four weeks, ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop tweets. This points to an IR stay for the veteran left tackle. Tunsil has made the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons in Houston. Tunsil suffered a full UCL tear in his thumb, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

While little was expected from the Texans this year, they played well against the Patriots in Week 5. Davis Mills enjoyed by far his best game, totaling 312 passing yards and three touchdown tosses. Tunsil’s injury stands to make the third-round QB pick’s development more difficult. The Texans face the Colts in Week 6. Their bye arrives in Week 10, so Tunsil returning the following week would make sense.

Houston has first-round talent Tytus Howard at guard for the time being, and Culley confirmed the third-year blocker will stay inside rather than move to left tackle to fill in for Tunsil. That is the plan for this week, at least. The Texans have Tunsil attached to a three-year, $66MM deal that runs through 2023.

Texans Shift Tytus Howard To LG

The Texans selected Tytus Howard in the first round of the 2019 draft, doing so with the thought that he might be the club’s long-term solution at left tackle. The pick was seen as something of a reach, and perhaps a panic move after the Eagles leapfrogged Houston to select Andre Dillard, who was the superior prospect. A few months later, the Texans swung a trade for LT Laremy Tunsil, and Howard opened his rookie season as the starting RT.

A torn meniscus ended Howard’s rookie campaign after just eight games, and last offseason was a difficult one for him, as he was recovering from the meniscus surgery along with a procedure to repair a broken finger. The lack of practices due to the pandemic also hurt; although he was entering his second season as a pro, he is an FCS (Alabama State) product who was always going to need a little extra time to reach his potential at the NFL level.

He still wound up starting 14 games at RT in 2020, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 61st-best tackle out of 79 qualifiers. Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 attributes that less-than-impressive ranking to a slow start engendered by the offseason problems and the fact that Howard had to consistently bail out former right guard Zach Fulton, who yielded 11 sacks last year. Nonetheless, the team is now moving Howard to the interior and will line him up at left guard, per Wilson.

Howard played one game at LG in 2019, and the team tried him out at several different positions during training camp this year. But he was deployed at left guard during last week’s preseason game against the Cowboys, and that’s where he will open the 2021 season. He has the size, strength, and mean streak to thrive on the inside, and being sandwiched between Tunsil on the left and new center Justin Britt on the right will certainly help.

2020 fourth-rounder Charlie Heck is expected to start the season at RT, but Howard is perfectly amenable to a move back to the outside. It sounds like Houston is keeping him on his toes in case that should be necessary.

“Oh, yeah, I think I can just go back out and [play RT] again,” Howard said. “I practice it every day, so they prepare me for something like that.”

Texans Waive OT Roderick Johnson

The Texans activated Roderick Johnson and Tytus Howard from their reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, but only Howard will move forward with the team. Following Johnson’s move back to Houston’s active roster, the team waived him.

Johnson re-signed with the Texans this offseason, collecting $350K in fully guaranteed cash, but will hit waivers. The Texans placed Johnson, Howard and Laremy Tunsil on their reserve/COVID list last week, with Aaron Wilson of 790 Sports Talk noting (via Twitter) Johnson was a high-risk close contact. Players can only be classified as such if they have not been vaccinated.

A former Browns draftee, Johnson has been with the Texans since the 2018 offseason. He started six games over the past two seasons and played 245 snaps in 2020. However, offseason waiver claim Geron Christian — a former Washington starter at tackle — had surpassed him in training camp, per Wilson.

Houston has Tunsil in place as its left tackle, and its most recent depth chart has Howard sticking at right tackle. Trade acquisition Marcus Cannon resides behind Howard on the right side.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/13/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Chicago Bears

  • Waived: WR Thomas Ives

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers