Coming into the 2016 NFL season, C.J. Fiedorowicz was a secret among the Texans pass catchers. Now the secret is no longer. Fiedorowicz burst onto the scene, enjoying his best season in his young three year career. Now as he enters his final year of his rookie contract, will Houston be able to retain him?
Even with the inconsistent play at the quarterback position last season, Fiedorowicz embarked on a breakthrough campaign. With more consistent quarterback play that is sure to take place in Houston, Fiedorowicz is primed to build upon last season. Whether that comes from Deshaun Watson or Tom Savage, it will be better than what Brock Osweiler provided last season.
As long as Fiedorowicz is able to continue the current trajectory he is on, he will be receiving large contract offers. These offers will be a far cry from his current rookie deal earning just over $3.1 million over four years. This is an appropriate contract for a third round tight end. However this is nowhere near what he will earn in the future.
With several impending free agents, Houston will have to pick and choose which players to retain. However this could mean Fiedorowicz could be the odd man out. The Texans have to make decisions on the following players, DeAndre Hopkins, Chris Clark, Breno Giacomini, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Tom Savage and Andre Hal. These are players in addition to Fiedorowicz who will be free agents.
Hopkins and Hal will be players that the Texans will want to keep around. Depending on his performance, Savage could receive a large contract as well. These three players will eat up most of the cap space that will be used to retain players. There is the strong possibility that there is money available to keep Fiedorowicz in Houston. But even considering the available cap space, money must be spent on bringing in free agents and signing draft picks.
If Fiedorowicz builds upon last season and truly breaks out, he may very well play his way out of Houston. Houston’s priority will be retaining Hopkins and potentially Savage. Quarterback and wide receiver are premium positions in the NFL. While the tight end position is growing in value, it is not at that level yet. A team like the Texans is still looking to build a stable offense. Fiedorowicz is likely to be finding a new home come 2018.