The Houston Texans still don’t quite have the answers at tight end with the announcement of C.J. Fiedorowicz’s retirement. They’re only two tight ends on the team’s roster and none of them I trust at this point to be reliable enough to help out this offense. Let’s take a look to examine further.
The Houston Texans have an unexpected dilemma on their hands in terms of shoring up the tight end position. The team had drafted their long-term answer to the position in C.J. Fiedorowicz but with him sustaining three concussions in one season, he had to make the unfortunate decision to retire to protect his health.
This leaves the Houston Texans with Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson as the two tight ends that remain under contract with the team. Doesn’t that excite you? It sure as hell doesn’t for me and we certainly need an answer — a stop-gap even — to ensure that such an integral part of the offense is shored up.
I don’t want to go back to last season where we had Julie’n Davenport and Kyle Fuller blocking as tight ends in Week 2 because all three of the aforementioned guys were out suffering maladies, mostly on the concussion side.
With general manager Brian Gaine asserting publicly that the Houston Texans want to get stronger, longer and faster, it certainly means that they want guys that are going to be able to handle the torrid pace of the offense that Bill O’Brien wants to continue running as sequel to last season’s success with Deshaun Watson.
Who is the short-term answer to those woes?
I honestly think the man that will take care of business will be Marcedes Lewis, who was recently
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cut from the Jacksonville Jaguars after spending his entire 12-season career with the franchise. They had initially looked at bringing him back for another season but decided to cut him to which he has so much as publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the whole premise.
Last season’s performance proved that the 33-year-old still has a lot left in the tank, posting some of the highest reception yards in five seasons. His 13.3 yards per reception were the highest in the past three seasons back in 2017. If the team feels that those numbers won’t help this team then I don’t know what will.
It’s an absolute abomination that the team hasn’t already signed him. Although his catch percentage was at 50 percent, down from 66.7 in 2016, he still proved he was worth throwing the ball to, amassing 48 targets last season, with those numbers certainly being up year-over-year.
What kind of deal should he get?
Lewis was going into the last season of a three-year, $12 million deal that he signed back in 2016. I’d certainly offer him money that would be close to an base salary of about $3.5 million per season and I wouldn’t go longer than a two year deal. So in other words, I’d sign him to a two-year, $7 million deal with the first season all guaranteed and with contractual incentives if he hits certain targets.
It’s important that the team go short-term with him as I imagine the Texans are — and I’d absolutely recommend — looking to target a tight end in this season’s draft, likely in the third or fourth round. By the time the team has groomed whomever we draft, we’ll be at the term of Lewis’ potential contract, allowing the team to move on from him.
Either the Texans aren’t interested or they’ve reached out and Lewis is not intrigued enough in the offers that have been made thus far.
Regardless, Lewis should be targeted because I think he’d make a tremendous impact to the effectiveness of this offense. We’ll have to see but I won’t hold my breath.
Lewis caught 24 balls for 318 yards along with five touchdowns, starting all 16 games in 2017.