The Texans cut veteran wide receiver Chris Conley as they officially signed tight end O.J. Howard to a one-year contract.
This marks the second time Conley was released this week, but he could be re-signed again.
Conley was signed to a one-year contract in the offseason. He caught 22 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Conley (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) has 4.35 speed in the 40-yard dash and a 45-inch vertical leap.
A former Kansas City Chiefs third-round draft pick from Georgia, Conley has 213 career receptions for 2,807 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Howard visited the Texans on Thursday, took a physical, and quickly agreed to terms after previously visiting the Cincinnati Bengals after being cut by the Buffalo Bills.
The Texans have only starter Pharaoh Brown, second-year player Brevin Jordan and Howard as their tight ends on the 53-man roster with tight end Jordan Akins, a former Texans starter, and Mason Schreck on the practice squad along with fullback-tight end Paul Quessenberry. The Texans tried to trade for Miami Dolphins tight end Adam Shaheen, but the trade was nullified when he failed a physical due to a knee injury and he was placed on Miami’s injured reserve list after reverting to their roster. Tight end Antony Auclair missed the entire preseason with a knee injury and was released.
Brown is recovering well from a hamstring injury and is expected to be ready for the first game of the season against the Indianapolis Colts, according to a league source.
“As a general rule, we never stop looking to upgrade our roster, tight end position, all positions,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. “I can understand we’ve had a few injuries. That’s the one position where injuries have taken a toll a little bit. We still like the people that we have right now and we’re going to dress at least three guys on game day. We’ll feel good about the three that we dress.”
Howard lost ground behind Quintin Morris and Tommy Sweeney in Buffalo. He did score a touchdown in a win over the Denver Broncos, but it wasn’t enough to secure a roster spot on a squad headlined by Dawson Knox, their veteran starter. Howard caught 14 passes for 135 yards and one touchdown last season for the Buccaneers. He has 119 career receptions for 1,737 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com