Thomas isn't draftable as the Texans' third tight end, and he may have some trouble holding off Kahale Warring for that job.
Thomas doesn't appear to have much job security heading into training camp, Aaron Reiss of The Athletic reports. Thomas had four touchdown receptions as a rookie in 2018 but was limited to five games and 67 offensive snaps in 2019 after a cracked rib at the end of August kept him on injured reserve for much of the season. Meanwhile, Darren Fells and Jordan Akins split the bulk of the playing time at tight end, combining for a 70-759-9 receiving line on 103 targets. Both appear locked in for 2020 roster spots, and 2019 third-round pick Kahale Warring also should join the competition after a preseason concussion led the Texans to stash him on IR for the entirety of his rookie campaign. Houston ran the second-most plays (349) out of 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) in 2019, so it wouldn't be a major surprise if head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien kept four tight ends on his 53-man roster. Even so, Thomas is looking at a difficult path to snaps and targets.
Thomas caught his only target for seven yards in Sunday's 51-31 divisional-round loss to the Chiefs. Thomas, who caught four touchdown passes as a rookie in 2018, entered 2019 as a leading candidate to become the No. 1 tight end, but he lost ground to Darren Fells and Jordan Akins. A rib injury in the preseason finale landed him on injured reserve, but Thomas became one of Houston's injured players designated for return, although he failed to make an impact when he did come back. The 23-year-old finished with just one catch on three targets during the regular season. He's one of three tight ends under contract for next season, along with Akins and injured rookie Kahale Warring (concussion).
Thomas played eight of 69 snaps and was not targeted in Saturday's 22-19 overtime wild-card win over the Bills. Thomas was elevated to the second tight end spot after the Texans made Jordan Akins (hamstring) inactive. Thomas, who was one of Houston's designated players to return from injured reserve, has done very little since coming off IR. His most active game was in the meaningless regular-season finale, when he caught one of three targets for eight yards while playing 38 snaps.
Thomas (illness) does not have an injury designation for Saturday's playoff game against the Bills. Thomas was unable to practice due to an ailment Wednesday, but he's now resumed participating without limitations. He stands to play his usual rotational role in Houston's tight end corps against the Bills on Saturday.
Thomas (illness) didn't participate in Wednesday's practice. Thomas exact illness is unknown, however, the fact that he was forced to miss practice is a negative sign. Thomas has caught just one of three targets for eight yards this season, so his absence likely won't affect the team on offense.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||@Kansas City Chiefs||21||7.32|
|7||10/25||Green Bay Packers||14||6.78|
|11||11/22||New England Patriots||12||6.35|
|3 Year Avg||15||10||112||2||6||11.20||23|