Good News: Just In Houston Texans Confirm The Signing Of Super Experienced Star

Early in the free agency period, the Texans worked with linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who was reunited with 49ers prospect Azeez Al-Shaair. The club is still working on improving its defensive second level almost a month later.
According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, Jacob Phillips arrived for a workout earlier today, and Adam Schefter of suggests that a contract has been reached between the parties. Phillips, who spent four seasons in Cleveland, is moving to Houston for a one-year contract. In 2020, running back Duke Johnson was traded to the Texans, and Phillips ended up joining the Browns. Four years later, Houston receives another pick.

Phillips, an LSU product selected in the third round, never quite worked out with Cleveland. The main cause of Phillips’ difficulties during his debut season was injuries. In his first three seasons, Phillips missed seven games, thirteen in his second year, and the final ten games of 2022 before missing the whole 2023 season. Phillips has only played in 20 of the 67 regular season games that he might have played, making eight starts.
Phillips’ challenges to stay on the gridiron have been unparalleled, whether it is due to COVID-19 or a knee injury in 2020, a torn biceps muscle in 2021, a torn left pectoral muscle in 2022, or the injured right pectoral muscle that kept him out of action for the entirety of last year. Even so, Phillips’ ability to break into the starting lineup during the brief periods when he’s healthy just serves to highlight his potential.

The Texans hope to witness that potential in 2024, but the Browns were never able to see it reach its full potential. The Houston team, which lost two starters at the position when Blake Cashman left for Minnesota and Denzel Perryman went back to Los Angeles, will welcome Phillips. Alongside returning starter Christian Harris, Henry To’oTo’o, the only backup linebacker to play a substantial amount of defense as a rookie in 2023, is expected to start in one of the starting positions.

Al-Shaair, a former 49er and Ryan’s student, was signed in March to contend for the other starting position. Al-Shaair made history last season when he signed a one-year contract with the Titans. He started every game for the first time in his career and recorded a career-high 163 total tackles, good for fifth in the NFL in 2023.

In 2024, Harris, Al-Shaair, and To’oTo’o are likely to start at the top, so Phillips won’t be under as much pressure to perform straight immediately. In cases of injury replacement or rotation, Phillips, if healthy, might assume To’oTo’o’s role from the previous season as the first player off the bench at the position. Del’Shawn Phillips, another new free agent, will go up against him for that position. Over the previous four years, Phillips played a similar position with the Ravens and was a vital member of the special team.
For Phillips, this is the beginning of a new chance in Houston. The 25-year-old has the opportunity to contribute for the Texans off the bench after an injury-plagued debut, and there is no immediate urgency to do so. Along for the ride will be his head coach, one of the best defensive brains in the league.


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