Houston Texans Outbid by Indianapolis Colts for Danielle Hunter Despite Signing

The Houston Texans landed free-agent edge rusher Danielle Hunter, but they did so without the biggest offer on the table. Will his signing decide the AFC South?

Few teams have had as flashy of an offseason as the Texans. Winning the offseason doesn’t guarantee much in the form of regular-season success, but the time is nigh to be aggressive, and that they were.


General manager Nick Caserio’s biggest addition this spring has been former Minnesota Vikings edge rusher Danielle Hunter. He has long been one of the game’s most feared pass rushers, and with 87.5 sacks to his name, all he’s done while on the field is hunt quarterbacks.

Adding Hunter to a feisty Houston defense could be paramount in establishing the unit as one of the conference’s best. The Texans will place their mortgage on the passing offense being healthy, but without a defense with similar potency, better teams will survive in the AFC. Caserio hopes Hunter is the type of move that tells the league’s elite that Houston is a force to be reckoned with.

Thus, the gap has widened between the Texans and the Colts, from the four points that separated them in January to some of the biggest stars being moved this offseason. Houston also managed to bring in running back Joe Mixon and defensive lineman Denico Autry, among others.

Indianapolis did its best to ensure Hunter would prevent a repeat champion atop the AFC South. 

According to Stephen Holder, the Colts offered more than the two-year, $49 million deal Hunter signed, complete with $48 million in guaranteed money.

“The Colts earnestly chased Vikings free agent pass-rusher Danielle Hunter, even offering him more money than the Houston Texans … ultimately gave him, according to a team source,” Holder wrote. “But after that failed pursuit and considering other potential moves, the Colts had some decisions to make on their own free agents before they availed themselves of alternatives.”

Hunter’s decision may have come down to Houston being his hometown, a factor he acknowledged in his introductory press conferences. No state income tax and trust in the Texans coaching staff may have played a role in his decision, too.

Whatever the reason, Hunter will be wearing Houston blue and red this fall and chasing down Indianapolis quarterback Anthony Richardson who – given his dynamic talent and the support of head coach Shane Steichen – may be the biggest threat to the Texans’ chances of hosting a playoff game.

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