Texans Rumors

Chiefs, 49ers, Cowboys Among Teams On Jamal Adams’ Preferred Destination List

Jamal Adams has made an official trade request, and although the Jets have yet to grant it, the All-Pro safety has formed a list of teams he would be fine with joining.

Both of the Super Bowl LIV participants — the Chiefs and 49ers — headline the list. The Cowboys — who submitted an offer for Adams last October — are also included among a seven-team contingent that features the Ravens, Eagles, Texans and Seahawks, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The Cowboys are the only team on this list that did not qualify for the playoffs last season. Adams, however, is a Texas native. Dallas offered a first-rounder and a Day 3 choice for the Jets standout last year.

As of now, the Jets are not prepared to trade Adams. But the safety may be more amenable to playing the fourth year of his rookie contract with one of the seven teams on this trade wish list than he is with the Jets, who have not made the playoffs since 2010.

The Jets are taking their time on extension talks for their top player, but with Adams signed through 2021 via the fifth-year option, that is not exactly uncommon. Teams often slow-play extensions for former first-rounders because of the option, but Adams is attempting to force the issue.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cowboys-Texans COVID-19 Results

Several players from the Cowboys and Texans tested positive for COVID-19. All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott was among this contingent. Here is the latest fallout from the Texas teams’ coronavirus exposure:

  • Monday’s report indicated the players who contracted the virus were not at team facilities. Elliott and the other players who tested positive did so after being informed they had come in contact with a person with COVID-19, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Fewer than five players comprise the group that tested positive, and Moore adds that none of these players have been at team facilities this offseason. Players who are not rehabbing injuries remain barred from teams’ headquarters.
  • Dak Prescott did not test positive, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link, via Twitter). The Cowboys quarterback came under some scrutiny earlier this offseason for hosting a birthday party with several guests during the lockdown period. But the 26-year-old passer is healthy.
  • Many Texans players are undergoing COVID-19 tests for precautionary reasons, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Texas has recorded its highest number of coronavirus cases four days running. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced in May sporting events could feature fans in stadiums — at 25% capacity. Less than two weeks ago, Abbott declared stadiums could operate at 50% capacity. It remains to be seen if the recent spike will alter the state’s plans. Both the Cowboys and Texans are slated to hold training camp in Texas.
  • The scare that hit the NFL’s Texas teams has caught the attention of coaches. One NFL head coach said the NFL needs to delay the start of the season, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets, adding that another coach questioned the logic of playing games during the pandemic altogether. The NFL has nixed minicamps but, as of now, has training camps slated to open less than six weeks from today. The Cowboys and Steelers are scheduled to be the guinea pigs for NFL operation during the pandemic, being set to begin their respective training camps July 22.

Latest On Salary Cap Talks, Training Camp

As could be expected, the NFLPA appears to be in favor of alternatives that would not involve players reporting to training camps earlier than scheduled. Most teams are set to report July 28, but NFL-NFLPA joint committee on health and safety have recommended extending the five-day acclimation period — implemented in this year’s CBA — significantly. However, an NFLPA source informed SI.com’s Albert Breer the union “would have no interest” in a scenario that features an early reporting date to make up for so much offseason time being missed. Some teams are in favor of having players report either one or two weeks early, Breer adds, but the league office has pushed back on the notion it would want players back early. This comes on the heels of minicamps being canceled.

The NFL and NFLPA have been discussing training camp scenarios for weeks, and the sides will need to hammer out an agreement before players are allowed to return to team facilities. However, the players have not yet proposed a report date that would differ from their new July 28 ETA, per Breer.

Here is the latest coming out of the ongoing NFL-NFLPA talks and the state of training camps amid COVID-19:

  • Teams will be reporting to camp July 28, for the most part. But a few rosters will be back sooner. The Cowboys, Steelers, Chiefs and Texans will report earlier, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The Cowboys and Steelers are scheduled to play in this year’s Hall of Fame Game and will be the guinea pigs in this new reality, reporting July 22. With Chiefs-Texans being this year’s regular-season opener, each team will report July 25. These uniform dates mark a slight change from previous years, when teams would gradually report in late July since they were required to report 15 days before their first preseason game.
  • A few numbers have been thrown out about how much a fan-less season would impact the league. The NFLPA’s latest estimate came in. Union executive director DeMaurice Smith said a season featuring games without fans would represent a loss greater than $3 billion, Breer tweets. An NFL.com report indicated losses could exceed $4 billion in this scenario, placing even greater importance on the league’s talks with the union regarding the navigation of the salary cap — which would be set for a significant reduction unless the parties come up with a solution.
  • Shortening this year’s preseason schedule continues to surface as a rumored option as well.

Cowboys, Texans Players Test Positive For COVID-19

Several players from the Texans and Cowboys have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). The list includes Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, per Rapoport (Twitter link). It’s believed that those players were not in their respective team’s facilities, which hopefully means that there will not be further viral spread in either locker room. 

[RELATED: Dez Bryant Receiving NFL Interest]

Due to regulations, the players who tested positive have not been disclosed publicly. In total, four players have been found to have COVID-19, according to a source who spoke with Mike Florio of PFT. Two of those players are from the Cowboys (including Elliott) and two are from the Texans.

Due to federal and local privacy laws, we are unable to provide information regarding the personal health of any of our employees,” said the Cowboys in their statement.

The NFL has pledged to do everything in its power to identify positive cases as they arise and prevent further spread. So far, it appears that plan has worked.

Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Saints head coach Sean Payton, and other NFL employees have tested positive for coronavirus this offseason. With more known cases, the NFL may need to adjust its game plan and schedule for summer activities. For now, the league intends to launch in-person training camp in July, followed by preseason games in August. However, this year’s preseason may be shortened from four games to two.

The same goes for the college ranks, where at least five Alabama players have tested positive for the virus. For now, the NCAA is hoping to have coaches working with players by July 13th, followed by four weeks of camp.

This Date In Transactions History: Texans Sign Benardrick McKinney To Extension

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Benardrick McKinney‘s five-year, $50MM extension with the Texans. If you forgot to get the inside linebacker a gift, that’s alright. He probably doesn’t need much in the way of gadgets and home furnishings.

[RELATED: Make-Or-Break Year: Texans CB Gareon Conley]

McKinney, a 2015 second-round pick out of Mississippi State, emerged as one of the Texans’ top defenders in his sophomore NFL season. He was solid as a rookie, but as a second-team All-Pro nod in 2016, he finished out with 129 tackles, five sacks, and a forced fumble, ensuring that he would see a sizable pay bump in the offseason. His 2017 stat sheet wasn’t quite as gaudy – 95 tackles and three sacks – but he was still impressive and placed as Pro Football Focus’ No. 24 ranked linebacker in the NFL.

Because he was a second-round pick, the Texans didn’t have the fifth-year option as a safety net. McKinney was now set to enter his walk year and potentially send his sticker price through the roof. It was the right time for both parties to come to the table. McKinney was 25 and wanted the security of a multi-year deal. The Texans were happy to oblige. The deal also gave them a clearer picture of their budget as they considered an extension for Jadeveon Clowney (though they ultimately couldn’t make it work).

McKinney didn’t disappoint on his new deal, racking up 100+ tackles in each of the next two seasons. He also continued his strong work against the run. Along with partner Zach Cunningham, the Texans ILB duo was among the league’s best at stuffing RBs last year. On the flipside, they offered Swiss cheese defense in coverage. McKinney has vowed to do better, however, while delivering more of the same solid ground work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Assessing Bill O'Brien's GM Tenure

  • The Texans fired ex-general manager Brian Gaine one year ago Sunday, paving the way for head coach Bill O’Brien to assume total power in Houston. Aaron Reiss of The Athletic looked back at the past year of O’Brien’s decision-making and highlighted that O’Brien is largely bucking conventional wisdom at every turn. Not only did O’Brien trade away a proven pass-catcher in DeAndre Hopkins, but he’s also placed little value on accumulating draft picks while deploying assets on running backs.
  • PFR’s Zach Links recently profiled Texans cornerback Gareon Conley as he enters a make-or-break year in 2020.

Make-Or-Break Year: Texans CB Gareon Conley

Before last year’s trade deadline, the Texans swung a deal for former Raiders first-round pick Gareon Conley. The deal gave Conley a change of scenery and an opportunity to turn his pro career around. With fellow former Ohio State first-rounder Bradley Roby and veteran Johnathan Joseph out of action, Conley would have the chance to see significant reps, especially since second-round rookie Lonnie Johnson was greener than expected.

[RELATED: Texans Call Off Timmy Jernigan Deal]

Johnson didn’t improve much, but the Texans still turned down Conley’s fifth-year option for 2021, which would have paid him $10.24MM, guaranteed for injury only. Now, he’s in limbo with one year and $1.89MM on his deal.

Conley has an awful lot riding on his 2020 season. With a big showing, Conley could secure the bag – either with the Texans or another club. If he doesn’t performed, he’ll be viewed as a low-risk pickup, the kind of player that nets a cheap base salary on a one-year prove-it deal.

Conley didn’t quite cut it in Oakland, so you could be forgiven for overlooking his natural skillset and quietly solid second half with Houston. The Raiders shipped Conley out after he failed to make plays consistently in their zone scheme. But, with the Texans, Conley broke up eleven would-be passes – two less than team leader Johnathan Joseph in five fewer games.

The big-game talent has been there all along – Conley was a first-round pick for a reason and, if not for his strange pre-draft saga, he might have been a Top 10 choice. The Ohio State product was also surprisingly solid in coverage with the Raiders, even though he didn’t quite gel with the team. Conley boasts the highest forced incompletion rate of any cornerback in the NFL over the past four years, as noted by Pro Football Focus (Twitter link). That stat comes with a small asterisk since Conley has only been on the field for two years, but the fact remains that he’s a quality stopper.

If Conley can stave off Johnson for the CB2 job opposite Roby, the stage is set for him to break out and cash in next spring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Call Off Timmy Jernigan Deal

Timmy Jernigan won’t be joining the Texans after all. Just a couple months after agreeing to a one-year deal, the defensive tackle announced on Instagram that he will not be heading to Houston.

Jernigan, who has had health issues in the past, never passed a physical with the team, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle hears. However, a league source tells Wilson that the defensive tackle has since been medically cleared by Dr. Robert Watkins.

Jernigan missed the bulk of the 2018 season and a good chunk of games last year. In ’18, a back injury and subsequent surgery to fix a herniated disk put Jernigan on the sideline. In ’19, he missed time with a broken foot. Before that, the former Ravens second-round pick totaled 13 sacks and 35 quarterback hits in three years with Baltimore.

Despite the injuries, the Texans saw a value opportunity in the 27-year-old (28 in September). They agreed to a one-year, $3.75MM deal with $1.25MM guaranteed, far less than the four-year, $48MM extension he got from the Eagles in the not-too-distant past. With the Texans, Jernigan could have had a tremendous platform to restore his value – he was slated to play alongside J.J. Watt on a defensive line that saw standout D.J. Reader leave in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Texans, Deshaun Watson

The Texans are still in the “extremely preliminary” stage of talks with Deshaun Watson, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Things are still on track and positive, sources say, but there’s no rush on either side. 

For a while, we’ve heard that Watson could land a deal worth roughly $40MM per year. Not long ago, that was the jaw-dropping projection for Patrick Mahomes. If Watson signs his deal before Mahomes, buckle up – the KC star could command something closer to the $50MM/year mark, plus potential clauses that would change the business, such as salary cap escalators.

For now, Watson is set to make just $1.177MM in base salary for 2020. After watching Laremy Tunsil land a three-year, $66MM extension, he feels confident that his big payday is just around the corner.

It’s definitely good,” Watson said of the Texans’ willingness to take care fo their own. “It’s exciting for all of us. Only time will tell, but we’re going to do everything we can to make sure it’s on the right track. We’re going to win a lot of games and championships while we continue to figure out that side of the business, too.”

If/when Watson inks his deal, it would be a surprise if he didn’t top Russell Wilson‘s league-leading $35MM AAV. If Watson, Mahomes, and Dak Prescott all sign new contracts in the next few months, Wilson could be No. 4 on the list by the time the season starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Carlos Hyde Rejected Multiyear Texans Offer?

Carlos Hyde appears to have been involved in multiple running back domino sequences this offseason. The new Seahawks running back turned down an offer from the Texans, and more clarity emerged on Houston’s effort to keep the 1,000-yard rusher in town.

The Texans offered Hyde a two-year, $10MM deal, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via ESPN 710 Seattle’s John Clayton). This offer emerged before the Texans’ blockbuster trade that involved DeAndre Hopkins going to Arizona and David Johnson taking Hyde’s place as Houston’s starting running back.

After Hyde spent nearly 2 1/2 months in free agency, he landed a one-year, $2.75MM Seahawks deal that can max out at $4MM. That agreement came together quickly, transpiring shortly after the Seahawks offering Devonta Freeman a similar contract. Freeman turned down the proposal and remains a free agent. Hyde turning down the Texans may have cost him a bit of dough. And it created quite the ripple effect.

Hyde passing on the Texans’ offer prompted them to take on one of the league’s most onerous contracts. Houston will pay Johnson $10.2MM this year. The former All-Pro back’s $13MM-per-year pact has two seasons remaining. With the Texans’ payroll also including Duke Johnson‘s $5.2MM-AAV deal, they have more than $17MM committed to the running back position this season — third-most in the league. The Seahawks’ backfield of Hyde, Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny ranks 16th in terms of 2020 cap commitment.

The Browns gave Hyde a similar deal to this Texans offer, adding him on a three-year, $15MM accord in 2018. After trades from Cleveland and Kansas City — sandwiching a stop in Jacksonville — Hyde rushed for a career-high 1,070 yards last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.