Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Bereft of JJ Watt, Texans double-down on David Johnson

29 and feelin’ fine ... pay the man.
29 and feelin’ fine ... pay the man.
Image: Getty Images

Have you ever been so lost that you had no idea which way to go, so instead of making a decision, you froze up and decided to do nothing? Welcome to the 2021 offseason of the Houston Texans.

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Currently faced with an abysmal situation that was facilitated by former head-coach-playing-general-manager-despite-no-qualifications Bill O’Brien, the Texans have no first or second round pick in this year’s draft. But hey, at least they have three picks in the sixth round. Great job, Bill. They have essentially no wide receivers aside from Brandin Cooks (Will Fuller V will hit free agency and they cut Kenny Stills), they cut pass-catching running back Duke Johnson, their quarterback is demanding a trade, they moved on from future Hall-of-Famer JJ Watt, and have needs across the board. You know what sounds like a really great plan? Giving more guaranteed money to a 29-year-old running back.

That’s right, while on paper it looks like a “pay cut” for David Johnson, the Texans increased the amount of guarantees to Johnson while restructuring his deal. Johnson was owed $2.1 million in guarantees, which they upped to $4.25 million due at signing. It’s a staggering and poetic display of resplendent mediocrity.

Johnson tallied only 691 rushing yards in 12 games last season, topping 100 rushing yards only once — which came against the abysmal rush defense of Cincinnati.

The Texans have essentially traded a Maserati for a Ford Fiesta and are justifying it by saying, “but look at the gas mileage!” It just doesn’t work. By giving Johnson more guarantees at signing, it looks like they’re really going to enter the season with the aging and oft-injured running back as the leader of the pack, unless they somehow strike gold with one of those late draft picks.

It doesn’t look good in Houston. Stuck in their stubbornness to not move Deshaun Watson, they are prohibiting themselves from the only viable way out of their current situation – a full rebuild.