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As the 2009 season began and Kevin Walter's unrestricted free agency loomed, many Texans fans (including me) figured we were seeing the last of K-Dub in steel blue, battle red, and/or liberty white. As happens all too often for my liking, I had no clue what I was talking about.
Walter battled injuries in '09, saw Owen Daniels become an even more heavily utilized option in the passing game (until OD blew out his knee), and watched Jacoby Jones finally become a factor in the passing game en route to a 27 reception/437 yard (16.2 YPC)/6 TD campaign. Free agency began, and Walter appeared bound for Baltimore. Then the Ravens acquired Anquan Boldin, and Baltimore wasn't an option anymore. Your Houston Texans came to terms with K-Dub on a five-year/$21,000,000.00 ($8,000,000.00 guaranteed) deal shortly thereafter.
There was a segment of the Texans fan base that thought giving Kevin Walter that contract was a mistake. Those folks weren't really indicting Walter as a player; the line of thinking generally went that Jacoby Jones had shown he was ready for an increased workload, and that the dollars spent on Walter could be better allocated elsewhere. Intrigued as I am by Jacoby's physical talents, I was not in that camp, as I still hyperventilate whenever I see a football heading in Jacoby's direction. Logical or not, I've been scarred by too many Jakespeare punt returns.
Nevertheless, many people smarter than me think that K-Dub's continued presence necessarily means less snaps for Jacoby Jones, which in turn negatively impacts the team and could retard Jakespeare's development. That's a valid concern, particularly considering that Jacoby is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
I'm of the mind that the Walter v. Jacoby debate may end up a non-issue. Kubes has shown he's willing to feature packages that call for three WRs, and Owen Daniels coming off that knee injury could well cause Kubes and/or Rick Dennison to get more creative with how they handle the personnel. To that end, Kevin Walter could see more time in the slot, with Jacoby splitting out wide to take advantage of his speed. Then the issue of who is WR2 or WR3 becomes almost entirely a question of semantics.
You've undoubtedly got an opinion on this, don't you? Share it in the Comments below.
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