According to NFL Insider Aaron Wilson, Indianapolis Colts free agent pass rusher Justin Houston will not be visiting the Houston Texans after all—following a Wednesday meeting with the Baltimore Ravens on his ongoing free agency tour:
Colts veteran free agent pass rusher Justin Houston visited the Ravens. He is not visiting the Texans, according to league sources
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) April 15, 2021
Per Colts team owner Jim Irsay recently, his franchise is still interested in signing the veteran pass rusher, but they’re also continuing to vet other potential options at the defensive end position—both through the NFL Draft and free agency.
This past season, Houston finished with 25 tackles (19 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, 32 total QB pressures, a forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 safeties during all 16 starts.
On his expired two-year contract with the Colts, Houston had 19.0 combined sacks in two seasons—as a largely productive pass rusher off the edge.
He was also a veteran leader in the Indianapolis locker room—having been named the team’s 2020 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award nominee.
While it’s unfair to speculate too much, perhaps Houston didn’t want all of the continued drama/controversy going on with the Texans organization—and specifically, the very serious legal allegations surrounding star quarterback Deshaun Watson and his future.
Perhaps he wants to finish his career on a contender—rather than in a rebuilding effort.
Whatever the case may be, Houston won’t be visiting his namesake any time soon.
Other veteran free agent options for the Colts include Melvin Ingram, Ryan Kerrigan, and Olivier Vernon among possibilities, while this draft class has a handful of ‘toolsy’, yet raw pass rushers—with ‘boom or bust’ potential.
Re-signing Houston would make some sense as a complementary veteran pass rushing piece to an otherwise young and unproven group—serving as a mentor in the process.
However, it’ll be interesting to see whether both sides can ultimately strike a new deal.