The Houston Texans could use another wide receiver on their roster to be on the outside, and there is a veteran on the market who could fill that void.
Are the Houston Texans that confident in Vyncint Smith and DeAndre Carter to trust them to play on the outside on the opposite side of the field of DeAndre Hopkins in 2019? The Texans have their speed receivers in Will Fuller and Keke Coutee set on the roster, and Hopkins is the best wide receiver in the entire NFL, but what about the right side of the field at wide receiver?
In a recent article, the Toro Times wrote Smith was a winner on the Texans roster following the 2019 NFL Draft as the Texans did very little to add to their wide receiver roster, but that doesn’t mean the Texans are done already this offseason in adding players who can help the roster.
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That brings us to veteran wide receiver free agent Michael Crabtree. The Texans could use another veteran wide receiver on their roster to play the role Demaryius Thomas filled last season before he tore his ACL, after joining the Texans at the trade deadline.
Granted, the Texans can use Fuller on the outside, but he’s also coming off a season-ending injury, and Coutee is more of a slot wide receiver, so Crabtree would not only be a good insurance policy for the Texans, but having another veteran presence would be beneficial to the team, too.
At 31 years old, last season Crabtree played in 16 games (all starts), where he caught 54 of 100 targets for 607 yards receiving (11.2 yards per reception) and three touchdowns. In joining the Texans, Crabtree wouldn’t have to be the player who dominates the offense, but imagine a four wide receiver set of Hopkins, Crabtree, Fuller and Coutee all on the field at the same time.
That would be a tough scenario to stop for any NFL franchise, and with a quarterback like Deshaun Watson, that would be a strong offense to stop and one that could put the Texans back in the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
Crabtree’s last 1,000-plus yard receiving season was back in 2016 with the Oakland Raiders, a season where in 16 games he caught 85 passes (146 targets) for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 11.3 yards per reception.
That version of Crabtree most likely isn’t returning no matter what team he joins, as the number of targets to do so won’t be available to him. If he were to join Houston, though, he would still be able to be a productive player on an offense that knows it needs to be more exciting and imaginative when taking the field in 2019 compared to where they were a season ago.
Here is a look at 2018 stats from Crabtree, Smith and Carter:
• Crabtree: 16 games (all starts), 54 receptions, 100 targets, 607 receiving yards, 11.2 yards per reception, three touchdowns.
• Smith: 7 games (1 start), 5 receptions, 10 targets, 91 yards receiving, 18.2 yards per reception, 1 touchdown.
• Carter (2 teams): 14 games (4 starts), 22 receptions, 25 targets, 216 yards, 9.8 yards per reception, 0 touchdowns.
Last season, Carter played seven games with the Philadelphia Eagles and seven with the Texans, and with the Texans, he even started three of those games where he caught 20 of 23 targets for 195 yards and 9.8 yards per reception, but no touchdowns.
Smith and Carter were both rookies last season, so there is still potential, but with potential comes times to be patient. With the Texans already having to show patience with their new offensive linemen, can the offense be patient at wide receiver too, or would adding a veteran like Crabtree help the Texans for the present? They have to remember that the Indianapolis Colts were one of the hottest teams at the end of last season, and the Jacksonville Jaguars got better, too.
Houston might not sign Crabtree this offseason as he’s being favored to sign with the Green Bay Packers, but if added to the offensive roster, Crabtree could bring a strong veteran presence other than Hopkins on the wide receiver roster, and that wouldn’t hurt anyone within the franchise.