Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans running back David Johnson (31) runs with the ball as Tennessee Titans linebacker David Long (51) attempts to make a tackle during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Texans keep RB David Johnson on restructured deal

The Houston Texans and David Johnson have agreed on a restructured one-year deal that allows the team to keep the running back for 2021, ESPN and NFL Network reported Tuesday.

Johnson agreed to a paycut. He now gets a guaranteed $4.25 million and could earn up to $6 million with incentives, per the reports. He was set to make $7.95 million in 2021.

Johnson rushed for 691 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games (all starts) for Houston last season after the Texans infamously traded away star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for him in March 2020. Johnson also caught 33 passes for 314 yards and two TDs.

Johnson missed three games with a concussion and one while on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Johnson was All-Pro and a Pro Bowl selection in 2016 with the Cardinals when he had 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns.

The Texans released running back Duke Johnson last week.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson (25) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Texans release RB Duke Johnson

Running back Duke Johnson was released by the Houston Texans on Friday.

According to multiple reports, Johnson was let go by the Texans as the team tries to dodge the full $5.025 million salary cap hit for 2021, the final year on his three-year deal with the team.

Johnson, 27, signed a three-year, $15.6 million deal in 2018 after four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

In 2021, he was due a salary of $4,650,000 with a roster bonus of $275,000 and a workout bonus of $100,000, according to spotrac.

The makeup of the Houston backfield is in flux with quarterback Deshaun Watson demanding a trade. Running back has been a position of extreme turnover in recent years with Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, David Johnson and Duke Johnson among the players the franchise turned to over the past three seasons.

David Johnson, acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in the DeAndre Hopkins trade in 2020, turns 30 in December. He’s in the final year of a three-year, $39 million deal he signed with the Cardinals and has a cap hit of $8.812 million, according to spotrac.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) passes the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun the Dolphin? Miami favored to acquire Texans’ QB

With Deshaun Watson reportedly telling new coach David Culley that he has no intention of playing for the Houston Texans again, the Miami Dolphins are favored to be the quarterback’s next NFL destination.

The Dolphins have an interesting trade piece in 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa and are the +250 favorites by SportsBetting.com to land Watson this offseason. They are narrowly ahead of the Denver Broncos and New York Jets at +300.

The Broncos with Drew Lock and the Jets with Sam Darnold are each evaluating their quarterback situation this offseason and are viewed as potential landing spots for veterans on the move. However, neither team is among the four that Russell Wilson’s agent reportedly told ESPN his client is willing to go to if traded by the Seattle Seahawks.

Watson reportedly met with Culley late last week and reiterated his desire to be moved by Houston.

Among his issues with the franchise, Watson was unhappy with the trade of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last year and with not being consulted on the hiring of a new general manager this offseason.

However, the team has been steadfast that it will not trade Watson.

Watson has thrown for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns in four seasons since the Texans selected him with the 12th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has also rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores.

Other teams expected to be in the Watson sweepstakes by SportsBetting.com include the Carolina Panthers (+600) and the Chicago Bears, Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles, each at +1200. The Panthers’ odds have shortened from +1200 when the sportsbook installed Watson trade odds in January.

With Wilson’s developing situation in Seattle, the Seahawks’ odds have shortened from +10000 to +5000 to acquire Watson.

Deshaun Watson next team odds:
Miami Dolphins +250
Denver Broncos +300
New York Jets +300
Carolina Panthers +600
Chicago Bears +1200
Washington Football Team +1200
Philadelphia Eagles +1200
San Francisco 49ers +1500
Dallas Cowboys +1500
New England Patriots +2000
New Orleans Saints +2000
Las Vegas Raiders +2000
Jacksonville Jaguars +3000
Minnesota Vikings +4000
New York Giants +4000
Cleveland Browns +4000
Atlanta Falcons +5000
Seattle Seahawks +5000
Tennessee Titans +5000
Pittsburgh Steelers +6600
Los Angeles Chargers +7000
Cincinnati Bengals +7000
Arizona Cardinals +7000
Baltimore Ravens +7000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +10000
Buffalo Bills +20000
Green Bay Packers +20000
Kansas City Chiefs +50000

The Detroit Lions (Jared Goff), Indianapolis Colts (Carson Wentz) and Los Angeles Rams (Matthew Stafford) are not being offered as potential Watson destinations as they have agreed to acquire new starting quarterbacks in trades that cannot be made official until the league year begins next month.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rolls out of the pocket against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Deshaun Watson tells new coach he wants out of Houston

Disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson met with new head coach David Culley late last week and told him he has no intention of playing for the team again, ESPN reported Thursday.

It’s the latest nugget in the staredown between Watson and the Texans that began more than a month ago.

Watson’s unhappiness with the team began with the process around the hiring of general manager Nick Caserio. He reportedly was unhappy with the Texans after the team did not consult with him before hiring Caserio.

Watson’s issue reportedly wasn’t with Caserio, but rather that owner Cal McNair didn’t vet any of Watson’s recommendations to be interviewed for the position before he learned about Caserio’s hiring on social media.

The hiring of Culley, who is Black, did nothing to change Watson’s outlook, a sentiment he reportedly shared directly with Culley last Friday when they met.

However, the team has been steadfast that it will not trade Watson.

Watson posted a cryptic tweet on Thursday, saying “loyalty is everything. Don’t you EVER forget it.”

Watson has thrown for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns in four seasons since the Texans selected him with the 12th overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has also rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) looks up during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans agree to release DE J.J. Watt

The Houston Texans are parting with All-Pro defensive end J.J. after he asked for his release.

The team announced the decision on Friday after Watt posted a video on social media.

“I have sat down with the McNair family and I have asked them for my release and we have mutually agreed to part ways at this time,” Watt said. “I came here 10 years ago as a kid from Wisconsin who’d never really been to Texas before. And now I can’t imagine my life without Texas in it. The way that you guys have treated me, besides draft night. I mean, you guys booed me on draft night. But every day after that, you treated me like family. And I truly feel like you’re my family.

“…I’m excited and looking forward to a new opportunity, and I’ve been working extremely hard. But at the same time, it is always tough to move on. And I just want you guys to know that I love you. I appreciate you. I appreciate the McNair family for drafting me and giving me my first opportunity in the NFL.”

He can sign as a free agent with another team when the new league season begins next month.

Watt will leave a legacy in Houston. In 10 seasons with the franchise, he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times, was a first-team All Pro five times and won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2017 after raising more than $37 million for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

He is the team’s all-time leader in sacks with 101, tackles for loss (172), quarterback hits (282) and forced fumbles (25). He has 531 career tackles, 61 passes defensed and 16 fumble recoveries since the Texans made him the No. 11 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.

“Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love. J.J.’s impact on not only our organization, but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise’s history,” Texans CEO Cal McNair said in a team-released statement. “I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan.”

Watt played in 128 games with the Texans, despite losing chunks of three seasons to injuries. He played in just three games in 2016, five in 2017 and eight in 2019.

While Watt, who turns 32 next month, has been synonymous with Houston, the departure from the franchise was expected. He said in November he didn’t want to be part of a rebuilding effort, and the Texans face numerous questions leading into the 2021 season.

Among those questions is the future of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has asked to be traded.

Watt was entering the final year of a six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in 2014 and was due to earn $17.5 million.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2019; Sunbury on Thames, United Kingdom; Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes speaks at press conference at the London Irish Training ground at the Hazelwood Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Texans president Jamey Rootes resigns

An offseason of change continued Wednesday for the Houston Texans with the resignation of team president Jamey Rootes, effective immediately.

Rootes was the founding president and general manager of the Columbus Crew and was named the MLS executive of the year in 1996 before joining the Texans’ front office more than two decades ago.

“We sincerely appreciate Jamey’s multiple contributions to the Texans franchise over his tenure and look forward to seeing him succeed in his new ventures,” Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement. “We will now build upon this foundation and move forward with a bold and unwavering commitment to winning championships, creating memorable experiences for our fans, and doing great things for Houston.”

Late owner Bob McNair hired Rootes in 2000 and named him president in 2005. He oversaw business and administration operations for the franchise, which sold out every home game from 2002 to 2019.

Rootes, 54, will “pursue his interests” as a writer, public speaker, consultant and professor at the University of Houston, the team said.

“The past two decades have been an amazing blessing for me and my family and I have the McNairs to thank for that,” Rootes said. “It has been an honor to serve them in this capacity for as long as I have. I want to thank my teammates as we could not have had so many successes without their hard work and dedication to the team.”

Greg Grissom, the senior vice president of corporate development, will oversee business operations on an interim basis, the Houston Chronicle reported. He has been with the organization nearly 20 years.

The Texans finished the 2020 season with a 4-12 record. Since the end of the season, they hired general manager Nick Caserio and head coach David Culley, and they also parted ways with director of football administration Kevin Krajcovic and equipment manager Mike Parson, who was well-liked by the players.

Franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson also has requested a trade.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) attempts a pass as Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Harold Landry (58) defends during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson takes Texans out of social media accounts

Star quarterback Deshaun Watson has made it clear that he wants out of a Houston Texans uniform, and he went to social media on Saturday to perhaps preview the breakup.

Watson, whose formal demand to be traded was reported this week as having been made two weeks ago, has removed references to the Texans from his accounts, such as his Twitter and Instagram profile picture, and his cover photo on Twitter.

Among sources of Watson’s unhappiness was the hiring of general manager Nick Caserio, when Watson later said he had been told he would have input in the decision but did not.

The 25-year-old Watson, who has played all four of his NFL seasons with the Texans since they made him their top draft pick, 12th overall in 2017, is fresh off signing a four-year, $156 million contract last September.

The contract gives Watson a no-trade clause and would impose salary-cap hits above $40 million in both 2021 and 2022 on the Texans.

In the team’s press conference on Friday to announce their new head coach, David Culley — another decision that reportedly made Watson unhappy – Caserio said the team has “zero interest” in trading Watson.

Watson has thrown for 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns in four seasons. He has also rushed for 1,677 yards and 17 scores.

The Texans finished 4-12 this season and missed the postseason for the second time in Watson’s tenure with the team. Watson threw for a league-high and franchise-record 4,823 yards to go with 33 touchdowns. He also rushed for 444 yards and three scores.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rolls out of the pocket against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans’ brass: ‘No interest’ in Deshaun Watson trade

Trading Deshaun Watson is not part of the plan for the Houston Texans.

David Culley was introduced as head coach on Friday and echoed the sentiment of general manager Nick Caserio in a joint press session that the Texans are not trading their 25-year-old quarterback.

“The reason I’m in this position today is because I know he is going to be a Houston Texan,” Culley said of Watson.

That position runs counter to reports from multiple outlets that Watson requested a trade at the end of the regular season. In recent days, ESPN reported Watson is “dug in” on his trade demand.

Caserio opened the press conference by underscoring the Texans aren’t interested in trading Watson.

“Before we take a few questions: Organizationally, we want to reiterate our commitment to Deshaun Watson. We have zero interest in trading the player,” Caserio said.

Culley was named head coach this week and begins the task of setting a new direction for the franchise along with Caserio.

Watson reportedly has been incensed with management since star wideout DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals last offseason. He also was pulling for Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to be hired as head coach, according to multiple reports.

Watson has a no-trade clause in the four-year, $156 million contract extension he signed last summer.

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Baltimore Ravens receiver coach David Culley during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

David Culley introduced as head coach of the Texans

David Culley is officially the head coach of the Houston Texans.

An NFL assistant coach for 27 years following 15 years in the college ranks, Culley takes over a franchise with pressing concerns that begin with the face of the team, quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson requested a trade and according to reports Friday, he is “dug in” and unmoved by the team’s hire.

“Heading into this process, it was imperative to find a head coach that our entire organization could rally behind and David is unquestionably that leader,” said Texans general manager Nick Caserio. “David’s infectious energy, passion for the game and ability to command a room was clear from the start. As he shared his vision for how a head coach should lead a football team, it further solidified our belief in him. His mentality of being selfless and willing to accept any challenge while investing in each person within our program resonated with all of us.”

Culley, 65, was assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach of the Ravens the past two seasons.

“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Janice, Cal and Hannah McNair for the amazing opportunity of being the next head coach of the Houston Texans,” Culley said. “To say that I am excited and that this is a dream come true is an understatement. Along the way, I have had countless people, organizations, family members and friends pour into me and prepare a path for me. My genuine hope is that this moment is as much theirs as it is mine. Let’s get to work and let’s do it together!”

Culley will be the oldest coach in NFL history at the time of his debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bud Wilkinson (62 years, 133 days) is the current oldest from his 29-game stint with the then-St. Louis Cardinals in 1978-79.

The Texans started the 2020 season 0-4. Head coach Bill O’Brien was fired after Week 4, and Romeo Crennel ran the team on an interim basis.

Watson’s frustration stems from multiple decisions he took issue with, including O’Brien trading All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last offseason. More recently, Watson hoped the Texans would prioritize Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy in their head-coaching search and reportedly wanted to be consulted in McNair’s decisions at general manager and head coach.

The Texans think they found the right man, however.

“Throughout his entire coaching career, David has shown an ability to lead and bring people together,” said McNair, the team’s chairman and CEO. “David brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our team as somebody who has seen it all in this league. In his over 40 years of coaching, David has learned from many of the best coaches in the NFL while helping players navigate both the physical and mental side of the game. Highly regarded individuals from all over the league reached out to us throughout this process in support of David because of his unique ability to connect with those around him and his passion for the game and the relationships he creates. During our meetings with David, it was evident he has the energy, communication skills and vision required to build a winning program. We are thrilled to welcome David, Carolyn and the Culley family to the Houston Texans.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Baltimore Ravens receiver coach David Culley during AFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Texans agree to five-year deal with coach David Culley

The Houston Texans have agreed to a five-year contract with David Culley to become the team’s new head coach, according to multiple reports.

The 65-year-old Culley was the receivers coach of the Baltimore Ravens for the past two seasons. He has never been a head coach at the college or professional levels during a coaching career that began in 1978.

Culley joins the Miami Dolphins’ Brian Flores and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin as the only Black head coaches in the league.

The Ravens will receive third-round compensatory draft picks in both the 2021 and 2022 NFL drafts due to a recently implemented minority hiring resolution passed last November.

Culley, who turns 66 in September, will be the oldest coach in NFL history at the time of his debut, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bud Wilkinson (62 years, 133 days) is the current oldest from his 29-game stint with the then-St. Louis Cardinals in 1978-79.

The Texans’ decision to tab Culley has come under extra scrutiny because franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson has made known his unhappiness regarding player and front office moves in the last few seasons.

Examples include the trade of star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after the 2019 season and the hiring of general manager Nick Caserio earlier this month without Watson being offered input. Watson said he was promised that he would be involved and had even offered suggestions for hires.

Numerous reports indicate Watson has asked to be traded from Houston. The hiring of Culley is expected to have no impact on Watson’s feelings.

The Texans went 4-12 this season, and an 0-4 start cost head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien his job in early October. They had gone a combined 21-11 over the two previous seasons, including back-to-back postseason appearances.

In addition to his time with the Ravens, Culley’s NFL resume includes stops in Buffalo (two seasons), Kansas City (four seasons), Philadelphia (14 seasons), Pittsburgh (three seasons), and Tampa Bay (two seasons).

Among the candidates the Texans passed over were Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, the former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2010-13.

–Field Level Media