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'Houston Honey Badger': Texans 1st New Contract - Baylor Rookie Safety Jalen Pitre Signs

Jalen Pitre becomes the first Texans' draft selection to sign his rookie contract

HOUSTON -- Jalen Pitre is officially a member of the Houston Texans

Pitre, the Texans' first of two second-round picks, agreed to terms Wednesday, becoming the first member of the 2022 draft class to sign his rookie deal. The news was first reported by Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson

Pitre agreed to a four-year deal worth $8.9 million, including a roughly $3.7 million signing bonus. He will remain under contract through the 2026 season and is expected to fight for first-team reps out the gate at strong safety. 

Jalen Pitre
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“Being able to stay with the hometown team, it's a blessing," Pitre said following his selection. "I was pretty sad that I didn't get picked early, but God had a plan for me. I have a great coach in Lovie Smith now."

A hybrid defender that saw reps at safety, nickel and WILL linebacker during his four seasons in Waco, Pitre became a star during his final year with the Bears. Playing in coach Dave Aranda's 4-2-5 set, the 5-11, 200-pounder led Baylor with 18 tackles for losses, helping the Bears finish with the No. 2 defense in Big 12 play. 

A consensus first-team All-American, Pitre recorded 76 total tackles, seven pass breakups, three sacks, two interceptions and had three fumble recoveries. He was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts and helped the Bears finish with their first 12-win season in program history. 

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The Texans are expecting Pitre to be the replacement for Justin Reid, who signed a three-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Pitre said looks up to versalite safeties such as New Orleans Saints Tyrann Mathieu and Arizona Cardinals Budda Baker in terms of how he models his game. 

"I try to take different things from his game to add to mine," Pitre said of Mathieu. "His versatility, his knack for being around the ball, his instincts, they're all things I try to add to my game."

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Texans general manager Nick Caserio said following Day 2 of the draft that the team loves Pitre's aggressive demeanor on defense, saying he "plays with his hair on fire." 

"They used him a little bit inside in the slot," Caserio said of Pitre's versatility. "He played safety, so he has some position versatility. I think he might have a role in the kicking game. Tough, instinctive football player, loves playing football. His energy was infectious when he was in the building." 

Houston still must come to terms with eight other draftees prior to the start of the season. The Texans begin rookie minicamp on Friday, May 13.