HOUSTON — When we talk about the Houston Texans receiving group, it must be split into two distinct entities. On the perimeter, Houston is happy with the six-time 1,000-yard receiver brandin cooks and a No. 2 emerging in nico collins.
In the slot, Houston needs to level up. Five different players took reps in the starting lineup last fall, but only 37 Danny Amendola recorded over 200 receiving yards.
New offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s system works best with a tight two-end set. That doesn’t mean the offense won’t need a slot receiver, though.
If general manager Nick Caserio seeks stability in free agency, Arizona Cardinals Christian Kirk fits what Houston needs. Not only does he have the speed and steady hands, but he could also be a building block for the Texans’ future due to his age.
Drafted by Texas A&M in 2018, Kirk, 25, was never “the guy” for the Cardinals offense. He’s been a steady No. 2 weapon against Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins, but his numbers suggest he’s a better compliment than a primary target.
Last season, Kirk made strides to solidify his status as one of the top slot guns in the sport. With Hopkins missing the majority of the season, he became quarterback Kyler Murray’s prime target, posting career numbers in catches (77) and receptions (982).
Arizona is likely happy to part ways with Kirk this offseason after drafting Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore in the second round. Moore, who finished last season with 54 catches for 435 yards, is more of a gimmicky type player, who will also offer his services in the running game.
Texans hope rookie stands out Davis Mills can take the next steps in his trajectory to become the franchise’s future quarterback. Adding protection and a stable running game are probably top priorities going into free agency, but the team also needs to add weapons.
Last year, Mills found success in the red zone with tight end Brevin Jordan. Towards the end of the season, Jordan became the main option inside the 10.
Houston missed that with a slot receiver. The addition of Kirk gives Mills a secondary option on short-to-medium throws as safety coverage. Is that enough for Caserio to pull the trigger?
Spotrac believes Krik’s next contract will net him an average salary of $11.8 million. The numbers suggest his maximum value contract would be around a four-year deal worth $47.5 million.
The Texans currently have just over $16.6 million in cap space, 16th most in the league. The addition of Kirk could increase Houston’s reception room, but the price should come down a bit unless the team frees up more ceiling space before March 16.
Kirk is a receiver that fits where Houston might be looking to level up. It’s a reliable slot option that boasts a career average of 12.3 yards per reception. For the right price, Texans should be interested.