(SportsRadio 610) - General manager Nick Caserio continues to beef up the Texans’ offense to prepare for the arrival of a franchise quarterback on April 27 when he’s expected to use the second overall pick in the draft on either Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.
The Texans’ offense was pathetic last season, and Caserio continues to wheel and deal to try to make sure fans see dramatic improvement with so much change on that side of the ball.
Caserio’s latest moves are reaching one-year contract agreements with Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz and running back Devin Singletary, each of whom will play a substantial role for new coach DeMeco Ryans and offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik.
Acquiring Schultz and Singletary came one day after Caserio traded receiver Brandin Cooks to the Cowboys for a fifth-round draft choice this year and a sixth-round pick in 2024 and signed left tackle Laremy Tunsil to a three-year, $75 million extension that makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Schultz, 26, is entering his sixth season. He caught 57 passes for 577 yards and five touchdowns for the Cowboys in 2022. He’ll replace Jordan Akins, who wasn’t re-signed after finishing with 37 receptions for 495 yards and five touchdowns. Akins, who turns 31 in April, signed with Cleveland.
The last time the Texans employed a tight end who was as consistently productive as Schultz was over the last three seasons was Owen Daniels, who excelled during the Gary Kubiak era. In 2021, Schultz caught 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. The previous season, he had 63 receptions for 615 yards and four touchdowns.
Schultz (6-5, 244), is an excellent receiver who specializes in short and intermediate routes. He joins a tight end group that includes Brevin Jordan entering his third season and Teagan Quitoriano going into his second. They combined for 21 catches, 241 and two touchdowns, both by Quitoriano. At 6-6, 258, Quitoriano flashed enough last season, including three catches for 83 yards in the victory at Indianapolis in the last game of the season, to elevate expectations for the 2022 fifth-round draft choice. Caserio also signed tight end Andrew Beck in free agency.
Singletary, 25, is also a huge addition to the offense. He’ll complement Dameon Pierce, who ran for 939 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, despite missing the last four games because of an ankle injury. Singletary (5-7, 203) spent his first four seasons with the Bills, including the last three as their regular starter. He missed only one game during that three-year period.
Last season, the running backs who played behind Pierce – Rex Burkhead, Dare Ogunbowale and Royce Freeman – combined for 320 yards rushing and one touchdowns. Singletary improves the depth – and the performance – significantly.
In 2022, Singletary rushed for 819 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards a carry. He had 870 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. He’s also a splendid receiver. He caught 38 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown last season. He had at least 38 receptions in each of the last three seasons.
With Schultz and Singletary signing one-year contracts, the Texans will get the best they have to offer because both will be trying to get multiyear deals after the season. Schultz and Singletary should impact an offense that continues to get a makeover going into Ryans’ first season.
The rookie quarterback should benefit from having Case Keenum as his backup and mentor. Caserio acquired right guard Shaq Mason from Tampa Bay. He’ll start between right tackle Tytus Howard, who’s entering the last year of his five-year contract, and what’s expected to be a new starting center. Tunsil and second-year guard Kenyon Green anchor the left side for what should be an improved line under new coach Chris Strausser, who came from the Colts.
Wide receivers Robert Woods and Noah Brown were signed as free agents. In his one season at Tennessee, Woods had 53 receptions for 527 yards and two touchdowns. Brown saved his best for his last season with Dallas, catching 43 passes for 555 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-2, 225-pound Brown made 13 starts for the Cowboys.
Caserio is expected to add more free agents on both sides of the ball. Getting at least one wide receiver to go with Ryans’ rookie quarterback should be a priority in the three-day draft. The Texans have 12 picks as it stands today, but everyone familiar with how Caserio operates knows he’ll be making more trades before now and the end of the draft.
John McClain can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on SportsRadio 610 and Thursday on Texans Radio. He writes three times a week and does two Houtopia Podcasts for SportsRadio610.com. He also can be read four times a week on GallerySports.com.