Less than seven weeks from the time they are expected to select a franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft, the Houston Texans made a key addition at wide receiver, signing veteran Robert Woods to a two-year deal worth $15.25 million on Friday.
The move, reported by NFL Media, will place Woods on his third team in three seasons. A 10-year veteran who has been a starter his entire NFL career, Woods immediately will step in as one of the Texans’ top receivers and is a likely harbinger for a future Brandin Cooks trade.
Last season with the Tennessee Titans, Woods caught 53 passes for a career-low 527 yards and two touchdowns. His totals were still enough to pace the Titans in both yards and receptions, and he had 31 more targets than the next-closest receiver. Despite that, his tenure in Tennessee lasted only one season; the Titans released him in late February.
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Over his career, Woods has accumulated 623 receptions for 7,604 yards and 37 touchdowns. He has two 1,000-yard seasons and won a Super Bowl championship in 2022 with the Los Angeles Rams, who dealt him to the Tennessee Titans that offseason.
Woods adds a veteran presence to a rebuilding Houston offense. He can serve as a mentor to a young receiving room that includes John Metchie III, a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft who missed all of his rookie season while battling leukemia, as well as a trusted security blanket for whomever the team’s quarterback is in Week 1. Davis Mills is entering his third NFL season, but all indications are he will be replaced under center by a player the Texans select at No. 2 overall in April.
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Woods’ signing also likely spells the end of Cooks’ time in Houston. He has been the Texans’ No. 1 receiver the past three years, catching 228 passes for 2,886 yards and 15 touchdowns over that period, with two 1,000-yard seasons. That production has come despite the Texans’ struggles at quarterback, with Mills the primary starter over the final two years.
Cooks was a contender to be moved at the trade deadline in November, but his $18 million guaranteed salary likely prevented a deal from materializing. He sat out part of the season due to personal reasons but returned to the field later in the year after no trade was found. The nine-year veteran has been traded three times already. A fourth appears on the horizon.