The defense of the Houston Texans now has linebacker Christian Kirksey on the depth chart, with a one-year contract for the upcoming season. This contract will be the second one-year deal that Texans have made this week, as it was reported they are signing Mark Ingram to a one-year contract as well.
Both Kirksey and Ingram are veteran players who most likely didn’t return to their respective teams due to salary cap issues, as Ingram played for the Baltimore Ravens last season, and Kirksey was a member of the Green Bay Packers in 2020. Both player are still able to contribute to a team, and in 2021 that team is the Texans.
As for learning more about Kirksey, the 2021 season will be his eighth season in the league, and though he’s only played in 20 regular season games in the past three seasons combined, he is still a productive professional player who can get the job done on a defense.
Last season, the Houston Texans were one of the very worst defenses in all of the NFL as they had major issues stopping the run and stopping the pass. That basically means the unit was a big reason the Texans finished with a 4-12 record, fired a head coach and general manager, and seem to be in a mode to revamp the entire team.
This one-year contract with Kirksey should be considered a “prove it” deal as the Texans have done some of those in the past which led to more riches for those players. Remember Tyrann Mathieu had a deal like that a few seasons ago with the franchise. It worked out well for the defensive back as he later joined the Kansas City Chiefs, won a Super Bowl, and is still a talented member of their defense.
The one-year deals the Texans are signing veterans to is no surprise because as of this writing the franchise has no draft picks until Round 3, so a signing at linebacker like Kirksey makes sense. Why not bring in a veteran player in a season that most likely won’t be great with how things seem to be going this offseason, and do so with an inexpensive one-year contract?
Houston Texans: Can Kirksey be the player he was in 2017?
The new Houston Texans linebacker, Kirksey during his lone season in Green Bay, played in 11 games, totaling 46 solo tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, and four passes defensed. Kirksey only graded in at 43.9 (out of 100) by Pro Football Focus as he played in a total of 548 snaps with the Packers in 2020.
Kirksey’s last full season on the field was the 2017 season with the Cleveland Browns. The linebacker had 113 solo tackles, two forced fumbles, and played in 1,068 snaps that season where PFF graded him at 62.0 overall that season.
In his time in the NFL, according to Sports Injury Predictor, Kirksey has missed time with a shoulder injury in 2018 (two games), a hamstring strain (Grade 2) that put him on the IR in Nov. 2018, and in Sept. 2019 Kirksey had a Grade 3 pectoral tear suffered in Week 2.
Kirksey is a solid addition to the Houston Texans defense if he can stay on the field and injuries don’t hamper playing time. Kirksey also brings with him 13.5 career sacks, 32 tackles for loss, 24 QB hits, and four career interceptions with him to Houston.
The outside linebacker will and should get a full opportunity to prove he can contribute to the Houston Texans in 2021. With some questions surrounding current outside linebackers already on the roster, a little competition won’t hurt them, rather it could force a few on the defense to add to their overall game in 2021 … at least that should be the hope.