Rick Smith added first-round pick Will Fuller and third-round wild card Braxton Miller. Both offer intriguing elements of speed and open-field elusiveness to complement stud DeAndre Hopkins. The offseason hype for 2015 third-round pick Jaelen Strong has been off the chains this spring. Coach Bill O'Brien has praised the second-year player almost weekly during offseason workouts.
However, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that this week Shorts signed a new contract with a pay cut to secure his roster spot, per a source who has seen the deal.
Shorts was scheduled to make $2.75 million in 2016. He'll now earn a $1.2 million base salary with a $500,000 roster bonus. He also has a chance to earn $250,000 total in per-game roster bonuses ($16,625 for each game he's active), per Rapoport.
Depending on how many of those bonuses Shorts earns, his pay cut will land between $1 million and $800,000.
Shorts doesn't offer the upside his younger counterparts provide to Brock Osweiler, but can be a steady hand out of the slot. The 28-year-old could very well start the season with a big role and see it reduced as the young bucks develop. He'll have to fend off Fuller and Strong for the No. 2 and 3 gigs.
Keeping Shorts in house entering his sixth year will ensure another veteran is in a youth-filled receivers room and insurance if the young projects take longer to grasp an NFL offense.