5 Houston Texans playing for their next contract in 2019
The Houston Texans have a number of players that are in a situation to improve their financial situation entering free agency in 2020.
The Houston Texans have 26 players entering free agency in 2020, and they will need strong seasons in 2019 to be able to possibly secure a contract extension with the team. Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson benefited financially from a productive 2018 season with the Texans.
Jackson signed a 3-year deal worth up to $33 million with the Denver Broncos to form part of their secondary. Meanwhile, Mathieu signed a 3 year $42 million deal that made him one of the highest paid safeties in the league just a season after being released by the Arizona Cardinals a season ago and signing a one year prove it deal with the Texans.
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Depending on how negotiations fare with Texans former number one overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney, he could play on the franchise tag if general manager Brian Gaine is unable to work a long term deal ahead of the start of the 2019 season. There is lots of time for Gaine to hammer out a deal and extend Clowney, but he could be playing on a one year contract if the Texans aren’t able to reach a deal that makes sense for both parties.
Whitney Mercilus is one of the players on this list that can land a sizeable deal before he hits 30. At 28 years of age, Mercilus has been one of the most underrated pass rushers in the NFL and in the Texans front seven. He ranks third in franchise history with 42.5 sacks and fifth with 54 tackles for loss. Mercilus had a down season after coming back from a season-ending pectoral injury, but he could be poised for a more productive season if he is allowed more opportunities to rush the quarterback.
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, D.J. Reader has been a solid starter in the Texans front seven and one of the better nose tackles in the game. His ability to anchor the middle of the defensive line has allowed the linebackers to roam free and get in the opposing backfield.
Reader has 102 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks through his first three seasons in the NFL. It would make sense for the Texans to work out a deal before the start of the season, but if they aren’t able to, Reader has the opportunity to become one of the better-paid nose tackles in the NFL in next free agency.
Nick Martin was drafted in the second round in 2015 with the expectations of solidifying the interior of the offensive lineman and giving the Texans a reliable center. Martin has been subpar in his first three seasons with the Texans, struggling with injuries and roster turnover have kept him from cementing himself as the long term starter at center. Texans were obviously high on him when they traded up to draft him, but he will have to take the next step in his fourth year to make the money he wants to earn in his next contract extension.
Signed in free agency from the Miami Dolphins, Lamar Miller is entering the last season of the 4-year deal worth up to 26 million he signed in 2016. Miller is ranked third in franchise history in rushing yards and touchdowns. He has 2,934 yards on the ground and 13 touchdowns through three seasons. Miller earned his trip to the Pro Bowl as an alternate and been a solid ball carrier after they released Arian Foster.
He hasn’t had better productivity as his predecessor, but he could earn an extension if he continues to improve within the offense with an upgraded offensive line and Deshaun Watson at quarterback.