Texans wideout Will Fuller will miss Week 1 of the 2021 regular season thanks to the six-game PED suspension he was handed in November, but he is still one of the more intriguing receivers set for unrestricted free agency in March. That is especially true since players like Kenny Golladay and Chris Godwin are looking increasingly likely to remain with their current clubs, which pushes Fuller higher up the wish-list for receiver-needy teams.
And as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes, it sounds as if Fuller will indeed hit the open market. Fuller and QB Deshaun Watson enjoy a close friendship, and considering Watson’s relationship with the team at the moment, Wilson says Fuller will not be back in Houston unless he is hit with the franchise tag. (A reconciliation between the Texans and Watson could change that, but the situation appears unsalvageable.) However, multiple league sources say they do not expect Houston to use the tag on Fuller, even though the club would like to have him back.
After all, the Texans are just $3.9M under the cap at the moment, and while restructures and releasing players like RB David Johnson will give them some additional space, it might not be enough to carry Fuller on an approximately $16M franchise tag. Instead, the team might continue to roll with Brandin Cooks — who flourished during Fuller’s suspension — along with Randall Cobb and younger players Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen.
Spotrac indicates that Fuller is in line for a four-year contract worth $67.8M, which seems about right. The $16.9M average would put Fuller in the top 10 of the WR market, and although he has struggled with injuries throughout his pro career, he was finally on track to play a full 16-game season for the first time before he was suspended. (For what it’s worth, he said he violated the league’s PED policy only because he took medication that the prescribing physician believed to be approved by the NFL.)
His speed and explosiveness would be an asset to most any receiving corps, so while the injury history is a concern, he should not be lacking for suitors. Last season, he was on pace for nearly 1,300 receiving yards and double-digit TDs. His 16.6 yard-per-reception average was a career high and is reflective of his big-play ability.