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Texans to Exercise Fifth-Year Option on QB Deshaun Watson

The Texans are expected to exercise their fifth-year 2021 club option for quarterback Deshaun Watson, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

It’s essentially a procedural formality because team intends to negotiate a huge deal with the two-time Pro Bowl selection. Watson’s fifth-year option is projected to cost $17.3 million.

Negotiations haven’t launched yet, per sources, but are expected to eventually heat up.

The Texans have had preliminary conversations about eventually negotiating a blockbuster contract with Watson’s agent, David Mulugheta. Everything has been positive so far, but it’s extremely early in the process and there’s no rush to get something done. The timing and amount of pending contract negotiations with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott will have some effect on Watson’s eventual contract.

Watson is entering the final year of a four-year, fully guaranteed $13.854 million contract that included a $8.215 million signing bonus. He’s due a $1.177 million base salary this year and a $1.177 million roster bonus.

Texans Make Deal for Cardinals Running Back David Johnson; Send WR Hopkins to Arizona

The Texans have been looking for a breakout player to help their run game in 2020, and are hopeful that a mega deal done with the Cardinals has done just that.

Houston and Arizona pulled off a big deal, as the Texans send wide out DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson.

The 28-year-old from Memphis, TV was dealt to the Texans on Monday according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The Cardinals in return for Johnson not only get stud wide out Hopkins, but also a fourth-round pick for Johnson and a second-round pick in 2020 and a fourth-round pick in 2021.

The Texans will take all of Johnson’s salary which includes a $14.156 million cap hit in 2020 and a $14 million cap hit in 2021.

Johnson’s breakout season came in 2016 when he rushed for 1239 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry average.

The running back was a third-round selection (86th overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Northern Iowa.

In five seasons Johnson has put up some gaudy numbers for the Cards, playing in 62 games rushing for 3,128 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Johnson also can make plays in the passing game, as he caught 208 passes for 2,219 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The former Northern Iowa back is heading into the second year of the three-year, $39 million extension he signed with the Cardinals.

Hopkins brings a huge passing game threat to the Cardinals, as in his career, all with Houston, he has caught 1,048 passes for 8,602 yards and 54 total touchdowns.

What’s the Status of the Texans Receiving Core as Free Agency Closes In? has a new article out discussing how things look to be shaping up with free agency ready to start very soon, and how teams wide receiver cores are looking going into the process.

The Texans could use another weapon at the wide out spot, but if they will go get one is another story.

You can read the entire article HERE – for now here’s what the piece says about the Texans receiver situation.

Top three WRs in 2019: DeAndre Hopkins (104-1,165-7), Will Fuller (49-670-3), Kenny Stills (40-561-4).

Last season, on third down, Texans wide receivers — thanks most notably to the connection between QB Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins — earned a 65.5 percent catch rate, the highest in the NFL. The oft-injured Fuller is headed into the final year of his rookie deal. When healthy, he unlocks Houston’s deep passing game, but the combination of Fuller’s availability questions and an especially strong receiver market will come into play as the team decides what to do with him going forward.

Who Would the Texans Use the Franchise Tag on If Needed in 2020?

USA Today has released an interesting article regarding the ever unpopular (at least for players) ‘Franchise tag’ and how team’s may use it in 2020.

It seems like every team has an option to use the franchise tag, which stops a player from even negotiating with outside teams and forces them to stay put.

To see the entire list of all 32 teams and the players that might be franchised, click HERE.

Here’s what the article has to say about the Texans, who they say may have a couple options at the franchise tag if they use it.

Now officially the general manager, Bill O’Brien made several short-sighted deals last year. RBs Lamar Miller and Carlos Hyde aren’t worthy of tags, so better for O’Brien to focus on extending LT Laremy Tunsil rather than having to franchise him in 2021.

Texans Release Former First-Round Pick CB Vernon Hargreaves

The Texans parted ways with a former first-round pick on Friday, that being cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.

Hargreaves played in six games last season for the Texans after starting the year with the Buccaneers.

Could WR Will Fuller Be on the Chopping Block for the Texans This Offseason? has out a list of one player for each AFC team they think might be on the chopping block this offseason.

For the Texans the site has picked wide out Will Fuller as the player that could find himself released. Here’s what they have to say about Fuller getting cut.

Houston Texans – WR Will Fuller

Dead Cap Hit $0, Cap Saving $10.162M

The Houston Texans find themselves in fairly decent shape cap-wise ahead of the 2020 season. They have an estimated $57 Million in effective cap space, with 55 players currently under contract. So they do not need to make any sweeping changes to the roster. However, I find it hard to believe that they will be comfortable paying Will Fuller the rate he is set to earn next season.

Playing under his fifth-year option, Fuller’s entire salary is fully guaranteed for injury only. And Fuller has a far from spotless injury record. He has missed 18 games over the last four seasons and hasn’t played more than 11 since his rookie season. Fuller amassed a career-high in receiving yards in 2019 with 670. But 217 of those came in a single game, with another 140 in another.

The Texans have averaged nearly three more points per game when Fuller has played over the last three years. But his performances, linked to his injury history, make him something of a risky proposition. I don’t think he’s played his last down for the Texans. Though, I can’t imagine this is the contact he’ll be playing under in 2020.

Texans Backup OL Greg Mancz Has Ankle Surgery

Texans backup center-guard Greg Mancz underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Mancz is expected to make a full recovery for offseason workouts.

Mancz, 27, injured his ankle during the preseason against the Green Bay Packers.

He was limited to nine games and one start. He was sidelined for five games with a concussion suffered against the Carolina Panthers when he absorbed a huge hit at the end of the game.

A former undrafted free agent, Mancz has started 28 of 54 career games.

CB Gareon Conley Has Screw Removed from Right Ankle

Texans cornerback Gareon Conley underwent surgery to remove a screw from his right ankle according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

The procedure is said to be “minor” and McClain reports that Conley should be fully recovered by the time OTAs start this spring. The No.24-overall pick in the 2017 draft out of Ohio State by the Raiders, Conley was considered a bust in Oakland but seemed to fare better after he arrived in Houston in a midseason trade. He compiled 27 tackles in eight games for the Texans and earned solid coverage marks from Pro Football Focus.

Still only 24 years old, Conley is clearly in the Texans plans for 2020 and possibly beyond. He is set to make a very reasonable $1.89 million base salary in 2020 and the team can exercise his fifth-year option for 2021. In a secondary riddled with inconsistencies and in danger of losing No.1 corner Bradley Roby to free agency in March, Conley can be penciled in as a starter next September.