The Houston Texans have a big-time player to replace in D.J. Reader as he’s not returning to the defensive line in 2020.
Free agent defensive tackle D.J. Reader was possibly the top interior defensive lineman available in free agency, and the Houston Texans let him walk due to the possible high number a contract would bring.
Though not official, the now-former Texans defensive tackle will be playing with the Cincinnati Bengals for the foreseeable future as Aaron Wilson reported that Reader has signed a four-year, $53 million contract to join the Bengals.
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Wilson wrote the following in an article for the Houston Chronicle:
“Reader is now the highest paid nose tackle in the league with an average of $13.25 million per year, per sources.”
That contract is well-deserved for Reader, but he played himself out of the price range of the Texans as they have a few other players on the roster they must give contract extensions offers to like quarterback Deshaun Watson and left tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Watching Reader — a 6-3, 347-pound defensive lineman — the past four seasons has been a sight to behold, and as a member of the Texans was a part of three AFC South championship teams, as he collected 154 tackles (81 solo) and 6.5 sacks during his years (2016-19) in Houston.
A former fifth-round pick from Clemson, Reader played in 61 regular-season games with the Texans, never fewer than 14 in a season, and this past season he finished with a career-high in tackles with 2 total (28 solo), with 2.5 sacks and four stuffs.
Reader has also played in five playoff games with the Texans where he has collected nine solo tackles and one sack in those games.
Having Reader on the defensive line made players like J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney and others become the top players they were because he did a lot of the dirty work in the interior line that most others can’t do at the level he did.
It was all but certain Reader was gone from the Texans once the playoff run came to a close, but in the four seasons he was with the Texans Reader became one of the very best at his position, and now the Bengals will have a very good player to improve their defense.
Watching a player go from a fifth-round choice to getting a $50-plus million contract in free agency is fun to see, and like it was stated earlier, Reader deserves this contract, as he’ll do well in Cincinnati with the Bengals.