Texans coach Gary Kubiak looks at recievers Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones as 1A and 1B as the No. 2 receiver.
Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson led the team with 1,216 yards on 86 receptions, an average of 14.1 yards per catch. Walter and Jones, who played like co-starters at the No. 2 receiver spot, finished the season with very similar numbers. Walter, an eight-year veteran, had 51 catches for 621 yards, a 12.2 average. Jones, a four-year vetaran, had 51 catches for 562 yards, an 11.0 average.
The Texans like Walter, but they also like Jones, who is a free agent. Jones is a playmaking receiver and an elusive punt returner, who can also return kicks. If the Texans are unable to re-sign Jones, they’ll need to turn their attention to free agency to find a receiver to complement Johnson and Walters. Related: WR Production Not Elite For Texans
Among all the Free Agent NFL Wide Receivers, five players of interest top the list of guys the Texans might consider:
Malcom Floyd (SD) – The six-year veteran (6-5, 225) played his entire career with the Chargers. Last season, Floyd caught 37 passes for 717 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 19.4 yards per catch.
James Jones (GB) – Last year, he finished his fourth season with a Super Bowl victory after having 50 catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns during the regular season. Jones (6-1, 208) averaged 13.6 yards per catch.
Steve Breaston (ARI) – He’s played his entire four-year career with the Cardinals and enjoyed a postseason run and Super Bowl appearance in 2008. Last season, Breaston (6-0, 189) caught 47 passes for 718 yards and one touchdown. He averaged 15.3 yards per catch.
Mike Sims-Walker (JAC) – Last season, Sims-Walker (6-2, 214) caught 43 passes for 562 yards and seen touchdowns. He averaged 13.1 yards per catch. During the Week 10 matchup, he caught three passes for 26 yards against the Texans and had no catches during the second matchup during Week 17.
Johnnie Lee Higgins (OAK) – The Texas native, who played at Sweeny High School and Texas-El Paso, played four seasons for the Raiders. Higgins (5-11, 185) caught 10 passes last season for 103 yards and no touchdowns. He averaged 10.3 yards per catch. This fast receiver burned the Texans for two touchdowns during a game in 2009.
Other receivers like T.J. Houshmandzadeh (BAL) and Mark Clayton (STL) are also free agents, but the Texans will be looking for a playmaker who has a lot of speed if they’re unable to resign Jacoby Jones. What should the Texans do with Jones?
Kubiak has admitted he’s a big fan of Jones and says the combination of him and Walter statistically makes for the best No. 2 receiver in the NFL. He’s almost right since only two receivers (Roddy White and Reggie Wayne) had more than 100 catches last season. Walter and Jones combined for 102 catches last season, but they certainly cannot share a contract.
Besides Jones’ possible contract, general manager Rick Smith and Kubiak must also discuss contracts for some of the other players on offense: Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster, who led the NFL in rushing, yards from scrimmage, touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and first downs last season.
WHERE THEY STAND – A breakdown of Texans free agents:
- Under current rules, players become unrestricted free agents after they have completed at least six seasons of experience. Exclusive rights players are unable to sign with other teams. Teams can match offer sheets signed by restricted free agents.
Unrestricted with at least six years of experience
- FB Vonta Leach, DT Shaun Cody, P Matt Turk, LB Kevin Bentley, DT Damione Lewis, CB Karl Paymah, DE Jarvis Green
Restricted with five years of experience
- OT Rashad Butler, DE Mark Anderson, QB Matt Leinart
Restricted with four years of experience
- LB Zac Diles, WR Jacoby Jones, G Kasey Studdard, DE Tim Bulman
Restricted with three years of experience
- G Mike Brisiel
Exclusive rights player
- RB Arian Foster