Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans acknowledged in his end-of-season press conference that running the ball better will be a priority this offseason.
The team finished 22nd in rushing yards and 23rd in rushing touchdowns with second-year running back Dameon Pierce and free-agent Devin Singletary in the backfield. While Pierce will return next season, Singletary’s status is up in the air after he only signed a one-year deal this offseason.
Singletary played well and eventually established himself as the Texans’ top rusher, but that doesn’t mean Houston will keep him for 2024.
Here are the pros and cons of re-signing Singletary.
Pro: Relatively inexpensive relative to production
Singletary emerged as the best runner in the backfield this year even as he began behind Pierce. He set a career-high mark with 898 rushing yards and scored four touchdowns as well. This all came after Singletary signed just a one-year, $2.75 million deal this past offseason.
The Texans want to improve the running game, but may opt to keep Singletary at a cheaper rate than some of the better running backs on the market.
Con: Better options out there
If the Texans are serious about improving the run game, they might need to spend more on more talented players in free agency.
Some of the best running backs in the NFL could be available this offseason, including Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, Tony Pollard and Austin Ekeler. All are better than Singletary and could provide the extra pop on the ground Houston will be looking for in 2024.
Pro: Familiarity with offense
This isn’t a strong reason to keep Singletary, but his understanding of Bobby Slowik’s offense will give the team a leg-up in preparation this offseason. A new running back would take time to get comfortable in the system unless they’ve played in a similar system in the past. So while Singletary isn’t as exciting as other players, he is more valuable than he looks on paper.
Cons: Plateau potential
Singletary had a career season in Houston, but his production wasn’t dissimilar from his previous seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He tallied at least 800 rushing yards from 2021 to 2023 and rushed for 775 and 687 in his first two seasons.
This was Singletary’s first year with more than 200 rush attempts. So while he looked solid, this could very well be Singletary’s ceiling. And the Texans have much higher aspirations that that.
Singletary is a low-cost solution for a problem the Texans could fix in a few different ways. While he doesn’t offer the same flash as other free agents, Singletary proved in 2023 he can tote the rock as the starter. Keeping Singletary also doesn’t mean the Texans can’t go out and get a bonafide starter, either, as he’s an adept role player as well.