Houston Texans player profile: linebacker Cory Littleton

Houston Texans
Houston Texans / Harry How/GettyImages

Cory Littleton signed a one-year, $2.4 million deal with the Houston Texans, joining Denzel Perryman as another linebacker signed by the team this off-season. He spent the last season with the Carolina Panthers and the two previous years with the Las Vegas Raiders. Littleton is joining his fourth team, as he heads into his eighth season in the NFL, having started his career with the Los Angeles Rams.

Littleton was in and out of the Panthers lineup all last season, starting in only seven games, while playing in 15. Part of the issue was an ankle injury he suffered late in the year. Littleton recorded 47 combined tackles while adding only half a sack and one tackle for a loss.

His best season was in 2018, when he tallied 125 total tackles, adding four sacks and nine tackles for a loss. He was a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler that season. 2023 will be in essence a prove-it year for Littleton, with an opportunity to earn a starting spot on the Texans roster and perhaps a new, long-term deal after the season.

Where did Cory Littleton come from?

Littleton attended the University of Washington and was a three-year starter, where he had a career 176 tackles, 12 sacks and 26 tackles for a loss. In his senior season, he recorded 63 tackles, six sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

Littleton had to fight his way onto an NFL roster after college when he went undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Los Angeles Rams took a chance on him as a rookie free agent and he would ultimately sign a three-deal, worth $1.63 million, which included only a $15,000 signing bonus. Eight years later and he's still in the league battling for a starting roster spot.

Can and will Littleton be able to regain his former All-Pro status? If that is the player the Texans are getting, it's a great deal for the team; however, if not, the team can easily move on from him, cutting him prior to the start of the season with little financial concern.