Houston Texans: Time to make Kevin Johnson prove it

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 03: Allen Robinson
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 03: Allen Robinson /

Houston Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson was once blossoming with potential. He now enters a “prove it” year.

The Houston Texans are sure to be extremely busy with the draft right around the corner. However, they have another deadline looming. The team has until May 5th to decide whether or not to exercise Kevin Johnson‘s fifth-year option.

When the Houston Texans drafted Johnson three years ago, he looked like the future. The Wake Forrest product ascended draft boards due to his solid play and athleticism. He seemed like the perfect piece to be added to the secondary.

Under the tutelage of Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, there was no way to fail. He would have the time to grow and mature. Then, he would be the heir to Joseph as the number one corner.

However, it transpired nowhere near that fairy tale dream. Johnson’s first injury came in his rookie season. He hurt his foot that ultimately ended up needing surgery. Following that, he missed ten games due to injury in 2016. This past year, he lost four games.

Johnson has a pretty lengthy injury history for a three-year career. But, there’s more to this decision than that. Johnson has a history of being handsy. He has 16 total penalties charged against him. 11 of those 16 involve him interfering with a receiver in some way.

All in all, PFF gave Johnson a grade of 32 for 2017. If you add up the injuries, penalties, and play it is hard to make a case for Johnson.

To Exercise or not to exercise?

Simple. Not to exercise.

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The Houston Texans should elect to not exercise Johnson’s fifth-year option. Yes, he was once budding with potential. Heck, he still is budding with potential. Yet, that’s pretty much all he’s been the past two years.

Yes, Johnson has shown flashes of greatness. But, it has not been enough to warrant a fifth year at a higher dollar amount. The Bears made the same decision with Kyle Fuller last year for almost the same reasons. He played phenomenally well in a “prove it” year. The Bears will have to pay more for him in 2018 now than they would’ve if they would have exercised his option.

However, I’d take that gamble any day. Make Kevin Johnson prove he’s worth the money before giving it to him. So far, he hasn’t been worth a high dollar. He’ll be a cornerback in the league for a while, but not at a top dollar. Take the monetary risk. Make him prove he’s still the heir to Joseph we thought he was in 2015.

Next: 2018 Mock Draft

I’d love for Johnson to prove me wrong. I still love the kid and his potential. Right now, he hasn’t earned his fifth year. Let’s see what he can do in 2018. If he plays up to his potential, the team can pay up next off-season.