Houston Texans sign WR Cecil Shorts

Cecil Shorts, a 2011 4th round pick, once looked like a very promising young receiver. After a rookie year where he didn’t see the field much (179 total snaps and 2 catches), Shorts caught 55 passes for 979 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2012. He was even better than those numbers suggested, as he did that despite missing 2 games with injuries and not playing more than 50% of his team’s snaps until the team’s 6th game of the season. He ran 423 routes on the season, giving him 2.31 yards per route run, 8th in the NFL, and he did that despite playing with the likes of Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at quarterback.

However, injuries prevented him from taking that next step. He missed 6 games with injury in 2013 and 2014 combined and averaged 60 catches for 667 yards and 2 touchdowns per season. He’s never played a 16 game season in his career, playing 50 out of a possible 64 games in his career and being limited in many others. He’s talented and his numbers undoubtedly would have been better if he played the first 4 years of his career with even a competent quarterback, but durability is a big concern.

That being said, I like this deal because it doesn’t pay him very much. Shorts will make just 6 million over the next 2 seasons if this deal goes to its conclusion and only the 2.5 million dollar signing bonus is guaranteed. Shorts fills a big need at wide receiver too, after the Texans cut Andre Johnson. His addition doesn’t mean they’re done adding at wide receiver because #3 receiver Damaris Johnson was Pro Football Focus’ 107th ranked wide receiver out of 110 eligible last season. I still expect them to draft a receiver early. However, Shorts will provide a nice stopgap as rookie wide receivers often take a year or two to adjust to the NFL (last year’s class notwithstanding).

Grade: A-

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