HOUSTON -- Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been trying to help out new general manager Brian Gaine this offseason, publicly recruiting free agents via social media posts. Last week, Hopkins posted about two players: cornerback Malcolm Butler and tight end Jimmy Graham.
While adding Butler makes sense for the Texans, the other is unlikely. Entering the offseason, the Texans have plenty of depth at the tight end position with C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson all under contract.
While the Texans are always trying to upgrade, especially on offense to help quarterback Deshaun Watson, they have greater needs where their more than $56 million of available cap space can be key. Graham, as well as the other top tight end expected to be available, Tyler Eifert, will be in demand early in free agency. The Texans have other glaring holes on their roster that will be addressed right when the free-agent period begins. Tight end is not one of them.
Houston could end up being in need of depth at the position, though. Fiedorowicz, who signed a three-year contract extension before the season, had three concussions last year and went on injured reserve twice because of them. The 26-year-old played in five games and had just 14 catches for 127 yards and no touchdowns.
In December, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Fiedorowicz could be forced to retire because of the concussions. This week, Fiedorowicz told the Crystal Lake Northwest Herald that he is still considering retirement.
“A dude knocked me out,” he told the Northwest Herald. “After eight weeks [on IR], when I came back, it was constantly on my mind. I wasn’t always able to play loose and free. It was in my head. Any time that’s on your mind while you’re playing an NFL football game, you’re in trouble. You can’t play timid. Guys are trying to take your head off, you know?”
But while Fiedorowicz is thinking about retirement, he said he plans to attend the Texans’ offseason workout program that starts in mid-April.
If Fiedorowicz was to retire, the Texans could then dip into the tight end market. In that case, they would be more likely to look at a veteran like Benjamin Watson or Ed Dickson, both of whom proved capable in 2017.
Of course, Hopkins wants the Texans’ offense to add a weapon like Graham. Who wouldn’t want to have a pass-catcher like that? But Houston has three capable tight ends and need to focus their large free-agent pursuits elsewhere.