Originally Published: March 19, 2018 8:30 p.m.
HOUSTON — The "Honey Badger" is headed to Houston.
The Houston Texans said Monday they had signed unrestricted free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu and claimed wide receiver Sammie Coates off waivers from Cleveland.
Mathieu was released last week by Arizona after five seasons when the two sides couldn't rework his contract. The 25-year-old safety was due for $18.75 million of his contract to be guaranteed when the league year officially began and Arizona saved nearly $5 million in cap space by cutting him.
He has 11 career interceptions, four sacks, 41 passes defensed and 303 total tackles in 66 NFL games during a career plagued by injuries. Only last season did Mathieu appear in all 16 games and he finished with two interceptions along with 74 tackles. He was an All-Pro in 2015, when he had five interceptions and 17 passes defensed.
Mathieu became a star in the Arizona secondary after being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft following a troubled college career at LSU. A finalist for the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, he got into trouble with marijuana and eventually was kicked out of school. Mathieu spent an entire season out of football and slid to the third round before the Cardinals took a chance on him.
His rookie season ended prematurely when he tore the LCL and ACL in his left knee.
His big 2015 season was cut short when he tore the ACL in the other knee. His absence was sorely felt as the team that went 13-3 before being routed by Carolina in the NFC championship game.
Despite the injury, the Cardinals rewarded him with a five-year, $62.5 million contract, with $15.5 million guaranteed. Off the field, he was a model citizen and with his fierce style and natural charisma, was among the most popular players on the squad.
The 24-year-old Coates was a third-round pick by Pittsburgh out of Auburn in 2015.. He spent two seasons with the Steelers before joining the Browns last year. He has 28 career receptions for 516 yards and two touchdowns in 32 regular-season games played, including six starts.
Browns tackle Joe Thomas calls it a career
BEREA, Ohio — Joe Thomas joked about his former coaches, thanked many of his ex-teammates and playfully referred to himself as a mushroom.
The 10-time Pro Bowl selection commanded the room — and kept his emotions in check — until the final moments of his retirement news conference Monday.
"It is with all of this that I must say goodbye," Thomas said, his eyes welling with tears. "Goodbye, not because I'm saying goodbye, but I'm just changing jobs from being your left tackle to being the No. 1 fan of the Cleveland Browns.
"Playing in front of the greatest fans in the NFL was easily the greatest honor of my 11-year career."
Thomas, the No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft, formally bid farewell in an afternoon celebration at the Browns' training facility. He was joined by his wife Annie, their three children, longtime agent Peter Schaffer, and several hundred invited guests.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder announced the end of his Hall of Fame-caliber run five days earlier, citing the physical toll of starting 167 straight games and playing an NFL-record 10,363 consecutive offensive snaps to begin his career.
Vikings finalize trade with Broncos for backup QB Siemian
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have finalized their trade with the Denver Broncos for quarterback Trevor Siemian to be the backup to free agent prize Kirk Cousins.
Though Siemian started 24 games for the Broncos over the past two seasons, he didn't balk at his unquestioned place as the second-stringer on the depth chart.
"I'm here for Kirk. I'm here for these guys, and I want to win a bunch of games here," Siemian said.
The Vikings announced the deal, which was agreed to last week, on Monday. They sent a 2019 fifth-round draft pick to the Broncos for Siemian and a seventh-round choice this year, after signing Cousins to a three-year, $84 million fully guaranteed contract.
Kyle Sloter, who was in training camp with Denver last summer, will be the third quarterback if all goes according to plan.
The Vikings let Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater become free agents. Keenum, coincidentally, signed with the Broncos.
Siemian went 13-11 as a starter, as the Broncos moved forward with a combination of him, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler after the retirement of Peyton Manning. For his career, Siemian has 30 touchdowns and 24 interceptions with a 59.3 percent completion rate.