As the season winds down there are happy discussions. The Houston Texans are one win away from sealing their first winning season since 2019 and could be two wins away from returning to the playoffs for the first time since that same season. If they win out they could be the AFC South division champs as well. Obviously, that is putting the cart way in front of the horse, but simply being in position to talk about that is a huge deal for DeMeco Ryans and company.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to success. In order to bolster the roster, general manager Nick Caserio signed a number of players to one year contracts. Those contracts are a win-win for the franchise and the player. If they player sucks then it doesn’t hurt the long-term cap situation. If the player is good then they have rebuilt their value on the open market. The Texans have a number of those guys on offense.
RB Devin Singletary
2023 Numbers: 755 rushing yards, 4.3 YPA, 2 TD, 26 catches, 185 yards, 0 TD
2022 Numbers: 819 rushing yards, 4.6 YPA, 5 TD, 38 catches, 210 yards, 1 TD
As a practical matter, Singletary was slightly better overall as a Bill. Yet, he was the unquestioned number one running back the whole time. This year, he started as Dameon Pierce’s backup and only claimed the job midseason. If we read the tea leaves and how things are moving we would guess he would end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 yards rushing. His yards per carry numbers are also pointed up. So, he should end up close to where he was last year overall.
Whether he returns is a tougher question. Singletary isn’t a traditional lead back on a good team. He can share the duties on a good team or he can be a quality backup. Would he agree to another deal that would pay him commensurate with that role or does he search for number one back money? Verdict: He’s back
TE Dalton Schultz
2023 Numbers: 52 catches, 574 yards, 5 TD
2022 Numbers: 57 catches, 577 yards, 5 TD
Like much of the offense, Schultz got off to a slow start. By the third or fourth game he was starting to really come on as a receiving threat. Still, he missed a few weeks and that ended up killing his overall production. If he averages five catches a game in the last four games he will easily surpass last season’s output in terms of catches. He likely will surpass the yards and touchdowns totals though.
Schultz’s long-term prognosis is difficult. He had only seven catches in the first three games, but has had 45 in ten games since then. Over a full 17 schedule that is a pace for over 70 catches. That isn’t anything to sneeze at, but he isn’t a gifted blocker, so a long-term top of the market contract might not make sense. Do we trust Brevin Jordan? Is there a good tight end that could be found in the draft? These are all complicated questions that make this debate hard. Verdict: He walks.
WR Noah Brown
2023 Numbers: 32 catches, 559 yards, 2 TD
2022 Numbers: 43 catches, 555 yards, 3 TD
Brown might be the most complicated of all the decisions moving forward. As a practical matter, his numbers are pretty close to what he did in Dallas. His role was similar. He wasn’t supposed to be the man, but was able to step in when injuries dictated he needed to. Most of those catches and yards came in the span of three games. That’s a double edged sword. You could argue this team is not in the playoff hunt without those three performances.
Yet. there were games with costly drops and where he disappeared. On balance, he probably isn’t a starting receiver on a good team. He just isn’t a week in and week out threat that you can count on. As a third or fourth receiver you could do a whole lot worse. Does he accept that moving forward or does he see himself as a starter? He could be one on a bad team, but does he want to get paid to play on a bad team? Verdict: He walks.
WR Robert Woods
2023 Numbers: 36 catches, 368 yards, 1 TD
2022 Numbers: 53 catches, 527 yards, 2 TD
I need to tread lightly here. Woods is a professional. He plays the game the right way, does the little things you need to win, and probably a great leader to have in that wide receiver room. That is a lot like saying a girl has a good personality and is really smart and funny. It’s what you aren’t saying. Woods just hasn’t been horribly effective in terms of being a consistent receiving target. He had nearly 270 catches and 3,300 yards in a three year period earlier in his career He will likely surpass 8,000 career receiving yards by the end of the season and could get to 700 catches if he signs somewhere else next season. This team needs a legitimate second receiver that can be a reliable target if Nico Collins or Tank Dell are out. Woods is getting paid too much just to be a good leader who blocks good. Verdict: Let him go