No. 1: Kyle Rudolph
Kyle Rudolph was a tight end for the Minnesota Vikings since 2011, was a two-time Pro Bowl selection (2012, 2017), and had a career-high 83 receptions in 2016. Rudolph was a huge part of the Vikings offense over his 11 years in Minnesota, however, due to his diminishing role and for cap space, he was released and is set to be a free agent this NFL offseason.
Rudolph had 28 total receptions last offseason — the second worst season in reception count out of his – for 334 yards total — (third worst season in yards out of his career in 12 games.
Rudolph still feels that his career isn’t over yet, as he believes he still has, “a lot of good football left.”
The Texans could desperately be willing to take the risk. With Darren Fells being a potential candidate up for release for the Houston Texans and the tight end depth being unpredictable, they could really use veteran services at the TE spot, regardless of who’s at QB for the Texans in 2021.
Even if the Texans don’t believe in him as a potential long-term solution, they could always sign him for the veteran experience and have him serve as a mentor to any possible tight end they may end up drafting in the mid rounds.
The Texans haven’t had an NFL known name at the tight end spot since Owen Daniels. Was C.J. Fiedorowicz solid? Of course, but he also had durability issues and decided to go the early retirement route. Darren Fells had a solid first year with the Texans, but struggled last year when he got his extension. Any other tight end the Texans have had over recent years haven’t had any long lasting impact for the franchise.
If Rudolph feels that he still has football left in the tank, and since the Texans have left a hole at the tight end spot for quite some time, a “prove it” deal could be a move worth considering. A versatile tight end can help an offense significantly it’s worth the risk.
That being said, it’s highly unlikely he signs with the Texans. Rudolph is probably looking for a contender that can revive his career and is willing to give him the starting role he’s striving for. The Texans can provide him the role, but not much else. There is no point in the Texans paying a premium price on a “prove it” deal.
It would be shocking if any of these three players or any other player out there looking for a “prove it” deal chose to take that chance with the Houston Texans.
These are intriguing options for the Houston Texans. Considering the lack of draft capital and cap-space, they should definitely be on the lookout for the deals to try and maximize the little amount of assets they can work with.
At the end of the day, a signing is going to have to go through Nick Caserio, Jack Easterby, and Cal McNair. This offseason most likely won’t include a successful turnaround with Easterby and Cal sticking around.