Former Houston Texans 12 year veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson is now a member of the Indianapolis Colts, after being released last week. That transaction however should not alter the Texans approach to the draft or free agency.
Popular consensus is that the Texans will likely draft either former University of Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White with their first round pick. But the Texans still need a veteran to compliment DeAndre Hopkins. Several reports appeared early in free agency indicating that The Texans were interested in Randall Cobb or Jeremy Maclin in the first phase of free agency, but never got close to signing either of them.
The remaining market for receivers isn’t exactly a list of world-beaters. There are some interesting names, but most of the available receivers are starting to show signs of decline: Former 49ers Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson, Indianapolis’ Hakeem Nicks former Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, Jacksonville’s Cecil Shorts, and Greg Jennings, who was just cut by the Minnesota Vikings.
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An argument could be made that the Texans would be better with any of these receivers instead of promoting one of their existing wideouts into the starting spot along side Hopkins. I think that the approach to filling the position is pretty obvious, sign a quality, but cap-friendly receiver and draft early (not necessarily in the first round though).
In my opinion the best free agent fits for this team are Stevie Johnson, Nicks, Jennings and perhaps Shorts. Johnson was the number one guy for several years in Buffalo before going to San Francisco last season. In 2010 he had 82 receptions for 1,073 yards and ten touchdowns.
Nicks was a former first round pick who has hit over 1,000 yards twice in his career (2010 and 2011) and also had 11 touchdown in 2010. Jennings and Shorts have both also been number one receivers for their teams at one point in their careers as well. Jennings with over 8,000 yards and 63 touchdowns would be a strong veteran presence.
It should also be clear to any of these guys that if signed they’d simply be filing a short-term void. Ok…que the single party favor horn..I know that these are not exciting options, but keep in mind that this team is re-tooling. It is never easy to attempt to replace the production of a Hall of Fame caliber player such as Johnson, so as you watch the Texans wide receiver position battle unfold, keep a virtual “under construction” sign in your minds as you observe.