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2018 NFL Free Agency News: Houston Texans Re-Sign Johnathan Joseph

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The greatest cornerback in Texans history stays in Houston.

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Johnathan Joseph was one of many unrestricted free agents the Texans had entering free agency this year. He’s been with the team since 2011, when he left Cincinatti for Houston and joined Danieal Manning to help correct the all-time horrendous pass defense Houston had in 2010.

That was more than seven years ago. At age 33, Joseph has finished playing out the contract that brought him to Houston and a three-year extension that kept him here. J-Jo made it clear he wanted to stay with the Texans, and now we know that it’ll happen.

Ian Rapoport reports that Joseph and the Texans have agreed to another two-year contract extension.

Joseph was good against short passes last year. He’s wily. He can read routes really well and reacts quickly to the receivers’ breaks. Additionally, he’s great at finding and playing the football. The problem with Joseph at this age is he can’t stay with fast receivers running downfield. The average pass against him traveled 13.4 yards through the air last year, which ranked 24th in the league. He spent the majority of these attempts chasing instead of backpedaling. Teams put younger guys in isolation against Joseph, attacked him downfield, and chewed him up.

If Joseph is going to consistently play on the outside again, two things need to happen. First, the pass rush needs to be better. Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt, and Whitney Mercilus have to stay healthy, and Houston could use another edge defender as well. If the pass rush is a top ten unit, it will allow Joseph to play shorter routes, since the longer developing ones will lead to quarterbacks getting smashed. The other thing is the Texans need to improve at strong safety. With Joseph out wide, they can’t play single-high because again, he’s going to get beat deep. They’ll need to play two safety looks, and they’ll need another safety that can play from the middle of the field to the sideline to help him out. Too often last year, the strong safety trailed on deep passes and failed to be able to pass routes in zone coverage.

Joseph is a fine re-signing. It makes your heart feel good. For him to have success in 2018, however, things will need to break right.

UPDATE: J-Jo talks about why he decided to stay in Houston.

UPDATE II: The terms of Joseph’s new deal are in.