Texans, Nico Collins agree to 3-year, $72.5 million extension

The Houston Texans have locked up their young star receiver Nico Collins through 2027.

He and the Texans agreed to a three-year deal with a max value of $25 million per year, according to the Athletic’s Dianna Russini. The extension is for $72.5 million but can be worth up to $75 million and comes with $52 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. All of these marks rank in the top 10 among the highest-paid receivers in the NFL.

The question surrounding a new deal for Collins wasn’t about “if” but rather “when.” That’s been answered with the Texans securing the wideout through the next three years — which aligns exactly with the fifth-year option of quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Collins entered the NFL as general manager Nick Caserio’s second draft pick. Quarterback Davis Mills was his first selection with the No. 67 pick while Collins went 22 picks later at No. 89. Both were third-round selections in Caserio’s first draft that lacked a first or second-round pick.

Collins becomes the first of Caserio’s draft picks to receive an extension, as ESPN’s D.J. Bien-Aime pointed out. Caserio took over as general manager with the Texans in 2021 and just completed his fourth draft in Houston.

Caserio found value in selecting the developing, long, fast receiver out of Michigan.

As a rookie, Collins started eight games and saw action in 14 where he had a mediocre 55% catch rate with 33 receptions on 60 targets for 446 yards (13.5 yards per catch) and one touchdown. His sophomore season saw him start seven games and play in 10. His catch rate barely improved to 56% as he caught 37 receptions on 66 targets for 481 yards (13.0 ypc) and two touchdowns. 

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In his first year with Stroud, Collins’ development and improvement of quarterback play meshed perfectly. Collins performed among the top players at his position. In 15 games with 10 starts his catch rate drastically improved to 73% with 80 receptions on 109 targets (16.2 ypc) and eight touchdowns.

Texans, Nico Collins agree to 3-year, $72.5 million extension

The reported $52 million guaranteed in Collins’ contract ranks 10th among receivers, per Spotrac. Based off of Collins’ age and ascending production, he compares favorably to the other four receivers listed in the bottom five of the top 10 paid at the position. 

Spotrac also reports that Collins’ average per year salary ranks seventh among wide receivers. It puts him several spots ahead of teammate Stefon Diggs, who ranked 13th at $22.5 million APY. The five receivers between Collins and Diggs seem like fair company to keep. D.K. Metcalf followed by Deebo Samuel, Michael Pittman Jr., Calvin Ridley and Terry McLaurin. 

Collins’ new deal is also on par with Eagles wideout DeVonta Smith. Collins has more guaranteed money on his deal than Smith but can make just as much if he hits contract incentives. 

However, Collins’ deal pales in comparison to the lucrative extensions of Amon-Ra St. Brown (Lions) and A.J. Brown (Eagles).

Nico Collins’ growth with Texans

The NFL world saw Collins’ ascension in 2023. The league’s X account threw its endorsement behind the extension with almost two full minutes of Collins’ highlights.

This past season, Collins finished seventh among qualified receivers in catch percentage at 73.4% and eighth in receiving yards at 1,297. He also tied for seventh in receiving touchdowns among receivers. 

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Next Gen Stats list Collins fifth among all receivers in average YAC above expectations at 2.5. He comes in tied for fourth among receivers in YAC per reception, boosted by the extra YAC he creates above expectations on any given play.

Collins also ranked No. 1 in yards as an isolated receiver in 2023, per Next Gen Stats. His Expected Points Added when targeted one-on-one is also No. 1 among all receivers since 2020.

He’s ascended to the top of the league and is now set to be paid like it. Younger Texans players can see that the team will pay to keep their own if they put in the work and continue to improve. 

Kudos to the Texans organization for their well-executed development of Collins but most of the praise should go to the young man who put in the work, didn’t get discouraged and has responded when asked to play to his potential. Now, he’ll get to continue to build on the growth in the city that drafted him and with the quarterback that helped maximize his talents. 

The Texans continue to put together an amazing offseason. One that’s built on continuity, improvement and sustainability.

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