For the past two seasons, Andre Roberts has been a catalyst for the Buffalo Bills as a kickoff and punt returner. Now it seems like Roberts is taking his talents to Houston.
According to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, a source said the Houston Texans and Roberts have agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth up to $5.95 million.
In the past two years, Roberts was crucial for the Bills return game. He played in 28 games and returned 57 punts and 57 kickoffs. He never returned a punt or a kickoff for a touchdown, but he put the Bills in decent field position when given the opportunity. This past year, he led the league in yards per kickoff return with 30.0 and totaled 961 kickoff return yards.
After making his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2018 with the New York Jets, when he also received a first-team All-Pro selection, Roberts was selected to the annual all-star game during both of the years he was in Buffalo. Now, the Bills will look to draft or bring in a new return specialist.
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Roberts Went from Receiver to Return Specialist
Before Roberts became one of the best return men in the game, he was primarily a receiver at the beginning of his career. During his first four years in the league, Roberts garnered 49 or more targets a season when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. He tallied a career-high 114 in 2012 when he caught 64 passes for 759 yards and five touchdowns.
Roberts never put up numbers anywhere close to that again as his role with other teams slowly switched from receiver to return specialist. Over the next four years, Roberts spent time with the then-Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons. In 2018, he broke back onto the scene with the New York Jets.
He led the league in yards per punt return (14.1), kickoff returns (40), and kickoff return yards (1,174). He also returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown during his breakout season as he was named to his first Pro Bowl and received a first-team All-Pro selection as well.
Over the past two years, Roberts was big for the Bills but they could find their replacement elsewhere as both free agency and the NFL Draft could supply some decent options.
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The Bills Could Look at Isaiah McKenzie First
One of the first options Bills head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane might look at is Isaiah McKenzie. The wide receiver was with the Bills this past season but is entering free agency. He’s already expressed his desire to return to Buffalo, but like most players, the money needs to be right.
After bringing back Matt Milano, Daryl Williams, and Jon Feliciano, the Bills may be looking to spend elsewhere but McKenzie could be an option. During Buffalo’s Week 17 matchup against the Miami Dolphins, McKenzie filled in for Roberts as the veteran took the week off to rest for the playoffs and the former Georgia Bulldog took full advantage.
He caught six passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns. But, he also returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown and tallied 32 total yards on two kickoff returns.