It is finally official this week that D.J. Reader will no longer be with the Houston Texans, and the franchise will miss him on and off the field.
It is always tough to see a homegrown player leave the Houston Texans, but alas, football is a business, and officially this week defensive tackle D.J. Reader became a member of the Cincinnati Bengals in a free agent deal.
The Texans decided to part ways with the very successful defensive tackle this offseason as he earned a larger contract than the Texans were wanting or could afford to pay. The Bengals gave Reader a well-deserved $53 million contract for the next four seasons, which makes him the highest paid defensive tackle in the league.
Houston this offseason decided they didn’t want to give any more money to DeAndre Hopkins as they traded him, but they also decided Reader was expendable because of monetary reasons, which is still tough to digest.
Replacing Reader is tougher said than done because he made so many others around him that much better, plus Reader came to the Texans as a rookie and worked his way to his new life-changing contract. Easily put, teams just don’t go out and replace a player like Reader.
This past season with the Texans in 15 games, Reader had 2.5 sacks, 52 total tackles (28 solo), six tackles for loss, and 13 QB hits. Reader also Increased his sack total from each of the past three seasons with one in ’17, two in ’18 and the aforementioned 2.5 in ’19. Reader’s QB hit numbers really jumped this past season from a combined 11 in his first three seasons to the 13 previously mentioned last year.
There is also the person D.J. Reader is off the field, as Houston will miss all he did for the community, as the Texans featured those endeavors on a video posted to Twitter, as his off-the-field care of others is just as important as the player he is one the field.
Again, not being able to retain Reader came down to the contract, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle quoted O’Brien in an article earlier this week:
"“We would have loved to keep D.J. Reader. We had good conversations with him and his representatives. But, at the end of the day, we couldn’t get that one done. So, that’s gonna happen every single year.”"
It will be strange seeing Reader in a uniform not being the Texans, but again, it is understandable on Reader’s part to go to the team who will set him and his family up for generations. The Texans still have to find a way to extend the contracts of Deshaun Watson and Laremy Tunsil this offseason or sometime in the near future, so that will take most of the Texans’ funds.
It has been exciting to see how Reader went from being a fifth-round pick to now one of the most dominant defensive tackles in the league.
We all know D.J. Reader will do well in Cincinnati, but overall it is a shame he won’t be lining up beside J.J. Watt and others this upcoming season, because it will change the Texans’ defense, and that will be just one of the reasons he’ll be missed.