Tremon Smith is accustomed to being overlooked by NFL employers in the past.
A former Kansas City Chiefs sixth-round draft pick from Central Arkansas, the cornerback and kick returner has bounced around the NFL with stints with the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts before joining the Texans last offseason.
For the organization to show its belief in him by signing him to a one-year, $1.6 million extension that includes $500,000 guaranteed, including a $150,000 signing bonus and $50,000 workout bonus, $500,00 total guaranteed and a $1.1 million base salary, according to league sources, was personally significant for Smith.
The knowledge that Smith will be back for the 2022 season as general manager Nick Caserio’s first in-season contract extension resonated deeply.
“It feels good, it’s been something I have been working on my whole career, just to get an extension,” Smith said. “You know these past three years I’ve been on three different teams so to be somewhere back to back in two years is a good feeling and brought out confidence in me.
“I just want to make sure I bring the same energy, coming in to work hard every day. I felt like that showed off and that was why I was one of the first ones to extend. I just want to come in and work hard every day.”
A fast, explosive gunner and kick returner, Smith has averaged 25.5 yards on eight kickoff returns. For his career, he has 62 returns for 1,573 yards and a 25.4 average.
Smith left the negotiating to his agent, James Krenis, and Caserio and it didn’t detract from his focus on football.
“I was still just focused on the games we have coming up and the practices, just focused on the little things,” he said. “I was talking to my agent here and there, but I wasn’t getting too involved. It was more of my agent doing the talking and all that. I was just focused on what game we had the next week.
“I don’t have to adapt next year. I am coming in with the same group of guys, whether it is a new group of guys. I am coming in with the same coaching staff. That feels good. It’s a confidence builder to be going into the same scheme next year. I’m just really looking forward going into the same scheme and realizing that I was here last year too.”
Signed last year to a $1.1 million contract that included an $80,000 signing bonus and $200,000 of his $920,000 base salary guaranteed, Smith reunited with Texans special teams coordinator Frank Ross in Houston after playing for the former New England Patriots scout in Indianapolis last season. His longest return: a 44-yarder against the Los Angeles Rams.
Smith is excited about the direction of the team, and being a part of a challenging construction project for a 2-10 squad that has a lot of work to do to become a more competitive team.
Smith’s athleticism and attitude represents what the Texans value in retaining players.
“I like what we coach and preach here,” Smith said. “I feel like once we do turn it around, we will be headed in the right direction and instead of losing, we will be winning a lot. We just trust in the process. We got a bunch of guys over here just trusting the process, coming in each day and working hard. That’s what is starts with and being more disciplined.
“I mean we can sit here and talk about this and that but once we go out there and start clicking on all cylinders, it’s going to take special teams, offense and defense to start winning games. So, once we click on all cylinders, we will be fine.”