Houston Texans Rumors: Cecil Shorts, Vince Wilfork Sign Free Agent Deals, Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett Starter?

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Mar 16, 2015 01:23 PM EDT
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Cecil Shorts #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars
Cecil Shorts #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars makes a catch out of bounds while Kareem Jackson #25 of the Houston Texans defends in the fourth quarter in a NFL game on December 28, 2014 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. "

The Houston Texans signed Brian Hoyer in free agency to compete with Ryan Mallett for the starting quarterback job in 2015 and after making the move to release Andre Johnson, players like Cecil Shorts, Denarius Moore, Kenny Britt and Hakeem Nicks are potential free agent targets and this comes after the team visited with Vince Wilfork.

The Texans nearly made the playoffs last season after going 2-14 in 2013 and now Bill O'Brien will be looking to keep things moving in the right direction in 2015. The team used four different quarterbacks last season and O'Brien is hoping that adding Hoyer and signing back Mallett gives the team some consistency. The Texans will be without longtime star Andre Johnson after releasing him this offseason and now he will be suiting up for the division rival Colts.

--UPDATE: Cecil Shorts is signing with the Texans on a two year deal, per NFL.com. Wilfork is signing with the Texans, according to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter. 

The Texans need some help at receiver with Johnson gone, as DeAndre Hopkins is the clear number one, but there is a lack of depth behind him. According to the Houston Chronicle, Shorts is coming in for a visit with the Texans and he has been a target for the Browns and Seahawks this offseason. The Texans have been able to see Shorts up close, as he has been with the Jaguars in the AFC South division. Shorts dealt with injuries last year, but he has been a productive player on a bad team when healthy.

Pro Football Talk lists Moore and Nicks as two of the top receivers left on the market along with Michael Crabtree and they could be options along with Kenny Britt. Shorts had 55 catches last season for 557 yards while playing in 13 games for the Jags, while Moore is coming off of a disappointing run with the Raiders. Nicks could be a cheap option, as he was a number one receiver with the Giants, but injuries slowed him down and that led him to the Colts for one year in 2014. Nicks is not likely to return after the Colts signed Andre Johnson.

Wilfork was visiting with the team for a couple of days, but right now no deal is close. ESPN.com reports that the Texans are "out" on Wilfork, but that could change if he doesn't find a team that's a better fit. Wilfork reportedly would be "comfortable" with the Texans, as Mike Reiss reports that O'Brien, "defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, linebackers coach Mike Vrabel" and others have ties to the Patriots.

The Texans signed Hoyer after he played last season for the Browns and now many expect him to be the starting quarterback. Mallett was acquired last season in a trade with the Patriots and he re-signed on a deal to come back and if he doesn't win the starting job, he will be the first backup option. Hoyer had interest from the NY Jets and Buffalo Bills, but he opted to sign with the Texans. The team also was interested in Josh McCown, but he signed with the Cleveland Browns in free agency.

The Texans ranked 24th in the league in passing yards per game and they are hoping adding a new quarterback and some WRs could push that up a bit. The team was fifth in rushing yards per game last season, meaning a boost to even the middle of the pack passing the ball could pay huge dividends.

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