Running back remains a need for the Houston Texans entering free agency
By Jair Lopez
The Houston Texans could be in the market for a running back, depending on their decision with Carlos Hyde.
The Houston Texans gained some success in the running game with Carlos Hyde as their ball carrier, but it could change with Hyde’s contract expiring in the offseason. The Texans could be in the market for another running back with Duke Johnson, Gregory Howell, and Karan Higdon, the only ball carriers under contract for the 2020 season.
Along with Hyde, Taiwan Jones and Lamar Miller will hit free agency and allow the Texans to bolster their backfield. Acquiring Hyde from the Kansas City Chiefs was a solid move for the front office since he offered Houston a bruising physical back that the Texans have lusted for since they parted ways with Arian Foster in 2015.
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The Texans previously tried to replace Foster’s presence and production with Miller and Alfred Blue, but their game wasn’t near the level that Foster was in his prime with Texans.
To Miller’s credit, he earned Pro Bowl honors in 2018 replacing Denver Broncos rookie Phillip Lindsay, but his fit was awkward in Houston as the Texans attempted to utilize him as a workhorse running back similar to Foster.
Miller was a complimentary back that could offer the Texans the versatility in the passing and running game when healthy, but he wasn’t an imposing back that could wear down a defense throughout the game with a volume of carries. Miller’s ACL injury could also push his stock down as he enters free agency in 2020.
The Hyde and Duke Johnson pairing showed to be a better fit in the Texans offense with Johnson filling in the mold of Miller’s capabilities and Hyde powering his way down the field. Hyde finished the season with more rushing touchdowns in a season (6) than Miller, who only reached up to five touchdown rushes in two seasons in Houston.
Hyde has played well enough to earn another deal in Houston, but the Texans could opt to let the current group of running backs test the market and survey their options hitting free agency or this upcoming draft.
The Texans have several ways to allocate their resources and Hyde could walk if the contract demands don’t fit with Houston’s long term plan.