The Houston Texans have signed the first of the six restricted free agents on their books this offseason. Former Cleveland Browns running back Dontrell Hilliard has signed a one-year deal, giving the Texans a solid option at returner for 2021. A job that looks set to be up for grabs come training camp.
Hilliard's deal, per Aaron Wilson, is worth $1.25 million consisting of a $920,000 base salary, $80,000 signing bonus, and $200,000 guaranteed.
In 2020, Hilliard played the final two games of the season for the Texans, returning five kicks for 104 yards. As the season wore on, Houston opted to move on from long-time returner DeAndre Carter, choosing instead to rotate players for the role. As well as Hilliard, Keke Coutee, Will Fuller, C.J. Prosise, Scottie Phillips, and Jonathan Owens all returned at various points.
Re-signing Hilliard on a short-term deal is a sign that the team appears to intend on opening training camp with the returner job up for grabs.
With Fuller yet to be re-signed and Prosise no longer with the Texans, at this point the most likely candidates are Coutee, Phillips, and Hilliard. However, soon-to-be second-year receiver Isaiah Coulter should also be considered for the position as he looks to find a role in the league after a disappointing rookie year.
With this deal complete, the Texans have a total of $3.668 million remaining in salary cap space with a total of 57 contracts signed.