This offseason, the Houston Texans have the following players who are unrestricted free agents that have played a significant number of snaps in Houston: AJ McCarron, Gareon Conley, Dylan Cole, Roderick Johnson, Vernon Hargreaves III, Brent Qvale, Pharoah Brown, P.J. Hall, A.J. Moore, and most importantly, Will Fuller.
ESPN asked their local beat reporters who each team’s most important free agent is. The answer for Houston was of course Will Fuller.
Wide receiver Will Fuller. The wide receiver, playing on his fifth-year option, was setting himself up for a huge new contract before he was suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Even with the suspension, Fuller might still get a big deal, and it could come from Houston. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson said in December, after the receiver was suspended, that it’s “very important” that Fuller is back. The Texans, of course, still are navigating Watson’s frustration with their search for a general manager, but re-signing Fuller could be a way to keep Watson in Houston. — Sarah Barshop
Fuller proved that he’s a great player this season before he got suspended for violating the league’s PED policy. He’s one of the most efficient wide receivers in the NFL, even if he isn’t a true WR1 in the sense that he can’t carry an entire passing attack on his own. In a collectively talented wide receiver group, Fuller can be the best the player in that bunch and create dynamic big plays. Just don’t ask him to drag an offense up and down the field all on his own.
The Texans are going to have to decide whether to tag Fuller, extend him, sign him to a short-term deal for less than the franchise tag, or potentially tag and trade him. In this loaded wide receiver free agent class, it may be difficult for Fuller to get more than the franchise tag is worth, so signing him for one year and $12 million instead of tagging him for $17 million could be possible. These are estimates, ff course. It may be difficult for him to get the long-term contract he craves because again, this wide receiver free agent class is loaded.
Whatever the answer is, the result remains the same, Fuller is the Texans most important free agent, and the team should do whatever they need to to ensure he plays in Houston in 2021.