Jimmie Ward on Texans' offseason: 'Man, they've been cooking'

When the Texans acquired Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a 2025 second-round draft pick and adjusted his contract into a $22.5 million guaranteed deal, the blockbuster transaction immediately resonated inside the locker room.

From social media reaction to conversations amongst players, the trade has been universally welcomed. The Texans’ offense is absolutely loaded headlined by by Pro Bowl quarterback C.J. Stroud, Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil and a skill position group that includes Diggs, wide receivers Nico Collins and Tank Dell, running back Joe Mixon and tight end Dalton Schultz.

Adding a four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver in Diggs who has 810 career receptions for 9,995 yards and 67 touchdowns has transformed the defending AFC South champion Texans, behind the strength of a productive offseason from general manager Nick Caserio and coach DeMeco Ryans, into a trendy Super Bowl contender.

“Oh man, it’s going to be pretty cool,” Texans veteran safety Jimmy Ward told KPRC 2 during a book signing for his children’s nutritional book. “He’s a great talent, He came into this league and did what he’s supposed to do, and I feel like DeMeco and Nick did a great job in going to get him and making that trade. And I feel like he’s going to make our team better.”

And Ward and Diggs completed a successful negotiation together. Diggs acquired his old University of Maryland No. 1 jersey from Ward, who switched back to his old No. 20 jersey from his time with the San Francisco 49ers, for $100,000, according to a league source.

“Yeah, man, we worked some things out,” Ward said. “I feel like he’s happy and 20 was available, so I’m happy. It’s a number that I feel like I can make plays in, but I feel like I can make plays in anything. I think Deion (Sanders) said it best: ‘Look good, feel good, play good. Deion said it and I think a lot of people think he was deep.”

Diggs’ acquisition goes along with multiple other signings, including defensive linemen Danielle Hunter (two years, $51 million) and Denico Autry (two years, $20 million, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (three years, $34 million) trading for Mixon and signing him to a new deal (three years, $27 million) and retaining Schultz (three years, $36 million) and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn (three years, $15.9 million).

“Man they’ve been cooking,” Ward said. “DeMeco came over here and told the media he was going to make change. And him and Nick they’ve been clicking together. They’ve been working good together and they’re changing things around for the Houston Texans.”

Finishing 11-8 and winning a division title and one playoff game last season, the defense improved significantly. They ranked 14th in total defense, 11th in scoring defense, sixth in run defense, 23rd in passing defense and set a franchise record for sacks in a single season.

The Texans replaced defensive end Jonathan Greenard and linebacker Blake Cashman with Hunter and Al-Shaair and signed cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson, two former top 10 draft picks. The defense returns NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl defensive end Will Anderson Jr., linebacker Christian Harris, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. safeties Jalen Pitre and Ward,

“We’re going to ball, and we’re going to get the ball,” Ward said. “We’re going to do our thing and execute the defense like it should be ran.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Houston Texans

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Kentucky corner Andru Phillips visiting Texans Tuesday

Kentucky standout cornerback Andru Phillips visits the Texans on Tuesday in between his Monday visit with the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday, according to a league source.

Phillips also has visited the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and New York Giants, per a source, in addition to a private meeting with the Los Angeles Rams, who don’t conduct 30 visits.

Phillips, a 5-11, 190-pound South Carolina native, has run the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. He had a 42-inch vertical leap and and 11-3 broad jump. He started every game last season and had 41 tackles, 1 1/2 for losses and five pass breakups. In 2022, he started four of 13 games played and had 31 tackles, 1 1/2 for losses and five pass breakups.

He had 82 career tackles, 10 pass breakups and three tackles for losses. He was invited to the Senior Bowl all-star game.

A former all-state selection who had two interceptions as a senior, Phillips chose Kentucky over Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina State and Georgia. He won the state championship in the triple jump and was ranked first nationally in that event.

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Kentucky v Florida

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