NFL: Did the Texans’ Johnathan Joseph Deserve a Raise?

The Houston Texans have an explosive offense when QB Deshaun Watson and WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are all healthy, but a good offense isn’t as effective if you don’t have a strong defense to go along with it. In an attempt to keep the core of their defense together, the Texans reworked the final year of veteran CB Johnathan Joseph’s contract to give him some extra money. He got a nice-sized raise from the team he’s spent the last eight seasons with, but the question is, did Joseph deserve the pay bump?

Johnathan Joseph’s career stats

The Bengals drafted Joseph with the 24th overall pick in the 2006 draft, and he played for them for the first five seasons of his career. He then left in 2011 to go to the Texans as a free agent. He has become a solid defender for the Texans.

Over his career, Joseph has 30 interceptions, with seven pick-sixes. He has also forced seven fumbles and recovered six fumbles, returning one of them for a touchdown. He has accounted for 703 tackles, including 598 solos. Even as he ages — he’s now 35 years old — Joseph’s production isn’t going down as much as you might expect for someone his age. He put up better stats in 2018 than 2017, despite playing in fewer games.

Joseph’s new contract

Joseph signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Texans before the 2018 season, but they reworked the deal this offseason to give him more guaranteed money. They gave him a $1.5 million signing bonus and raised his base salary from $2.9 million to $4 million. The revised deal, however, did lower his roster bonus. The total of his per-game roster bonus was previously $1 million, but it now maxes out at $500,000. Overall — if he earns the maximum roster bonus — Joseph would earn $6 million, compared to $3.9 million under the previous terms of the contract.

Did Joseph deserve the raise?

If you ask Joseph, he’d say yes. In fact, he did. When the team announced the new deal, Joseph said “being the player that I am, being a starter on this defense, I think it’s probably the right thing to do. But I probably deserve it.” 

He also said that he’s working for the raise, and said it’s a “working relationship” between him and the team with which he is entering his ninth season. Is he right about the raise being the right thing for the team to do? As mentioned, Joseph is still a good defender even as he enters his age-35 season. While he’s not in his prime anymore, he did have his moments last season as the Texans went on to win the AFC South. Those moments included a key fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown that proved to be the game-winner in the Texans’ 20-13 victory over the Bills in Week 6.

Is Joseph considering retirement?

Johnathan Joseph (left) received a raise from the Texans before the 2019 season, but did he deserve it?
Johnathan Joseph is still a difference-maker despite being old by NFL standards. | Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Joseph will be a free agent after this season and turns 36 in April, which is considered an advanced age for an NFL player, especially one who will have played 14 seasons after this year. For many players, this is around the time they consider calling it a career. That doesn’t seem to be something Joseph is thinking about right now, though.

When asked if he’s contemplating retirement, Joseph said he “never think[s] about it.” He’s dedicated to helping the Texans win this year, and then he’ll decide after the end of the year based on “however my body feels, my mindset, and just talking to my family.”