Houston Texans: Carlos Hyde’s start will lead to a tough offseason decision

Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Houston Texans running back Carlos Hyde has had an impressive start to 2019 but with the latest report, the decision to bring him back could be tough. What?

Carlos Hyde has been a diamond in the rough for the Houston Texans, but with Los Angeles Chargers’ running back Melvin Gordon reportedly being open to joining forces, should the franchise overlook Hyde’s performance and look toward signing Gordon in free agency this season? The answer may not be as easy as it seems.

Hyde, currently in his sixth season was a second-round pick in the 2014 Draft out of Ohio State taken by the San Francisco 49ers. Hyde was brought in to add another weapon to a lethal and explosive 49ers offense, but unfortunately, that did not work out. Since then, Hyde has bounced around from team to team trying to find his footing.  But with the earliest of returns, Hyde has landed on both feet with the Houston Texans and has found a home.

Going into the 2019 season, the Houston Texans were excited about their running back room as Houston traded for former Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson. Johnson was brought in to be another piece in the passing game for Deshaun Watson but an unfortunate season-ending injury to Lamar Miller quickly pushed Johnson to the top of the depth chart. Miller’s injury forced the Houston Texans‘ hands and the team traded for Carlos Hyde.

The team and fans were not quite sure what Hyde was going to bring to the table but once Hyde took the field Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, resulting in him running his hard-nosed style of football, there seemed to have been instant gratification among the franchise and most fans with what they saw.

Hyde fits Bill O’Brien’s power running scheme and seems like he might have found his home. Through the first three weeks, Hyde has run for 192 yards off 40 carries, has his highest average yards per carry (4.8), and has not coughed up the football.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Gordon was open to being traded to Houston this offseason while still being disgruntled about his contract dispute with LA.  The Chargers never listened to any offers from Houston, hence Gordon staying with the team.

This could be looking too far ahead, but Gordon, barring the Chargers resigning him, will be a free agent this coming offseason, leaving Houston with a big decision to make.

This is the question that they face — do you sign Gordon to the huge contract that he

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wants, or do you keep Hyde and continue to let him run wild?

The answer may seem obvious here but Gordon does have an injury history and has a running style similar to Miller. I would love to see Hyde continue to bully defenses this season and see what the results are once his 2019 campaign has concluded.

Along with being a speedy yet finesse back, Gordon can catch the ball out of the backfield though, as the back averages 45.5 receptions a year.  Duke handles most of those duties but it’s good to know that Hyde has those capabilities as well.

Another question that should be raised is if the Houston Texans go with Gordon, how does the team approach Johnson?  He was brought in to be the pass-catching back but with the Miller injury, was forced to be a ball carrier too. Does Houston keep Johnson as a back up with plenty of versatility or do the Houston Texans go in a different direction?

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My best guess would be Houston keeps Duke as his three-year, $15.6 million contract extension that he signed last season is extremely cost-effective, considering his stout production. Johnson has shown this year that he can sing the O’Brien praises of being a versatile football player.

So if Hyde regresses and takes a step back as the season goes on, the choice will be clear to move on from him.  But if Hyde keeps up this impressive high level of play, I feel it’s safe to go with him moving forward.

I would love to hear what you think Houston Texans fans.

Go Texans!