Cal McNair, Hannah McNair reflect on Texans’ all-in approach, Stefon Diggs trade: ‘We want to win now’

Hannah McNair: ‘Our boys when they heard the Stefon Diggs news were screaming around the house.’

HOUSTON – When the Texans engineered a massive trade to acquire Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs, the reaction resonated across the league and in the McNair household.

After trading a 2025 second-round draft pick to the Buffalo Bills to land Diggs, the sons of principal owner Cal McNair and foundation vice president Hannah McNair were extremely enthusiastic.

“Our boys, when they heard the Stefon Diggs news, were screaming around the house,” Hannah McNair told KPRC 2 sports director Randy McIlvoy on Thursday in an interview at NRG Stadium. “And then, their friends said their teacher stopped class to tell everyone. So, there’s quite a buzz amongst the younger generation about the guys we’ve brought in. So, that’s exciting... We want to win now.”

Even before the Texans added Diggs and guaranteed him $22.5 million for one season under a renegotiated contract, the AFC South champions’ bountiful and expensive offseason was already the talk of the NFL.

At the recent NFL owners’ meetings in Orlando, Fla., in the hallways of the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes, the Texans’ all-in strategy was a frequent topic of conversation with NFL owners, general managers and coaches.

“We embrace the expectations,” Cal McNair said. “That’s where we want to be. At the same time, it’s about building the team and the team being coached and working hard. It’s the day-to-day things that are going to get us where we want to get to, but we got to stay focused and work hard every day to bring about where we want to go.”

Among the commentary on an offseason that has already landed Diggs and netted Pro Bowl pass rusher Danielle Hunter and Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon, linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, defensive lineman Denico Autry while retaining tight end Dalton Schultz and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn about a team headlined by coach DeMeco Ryans, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year quarterback C.J. Stroud, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year defensive end Will Anderson Jr., Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil and standout cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.:

‘That team is loaded.’

‘They’re really good. They’ve got a great young quarterback in C.J. Stroud.’

‘DeMeco Ryans’ leadership turned that team around.’

‘The Texans are going to be good for a long time.’

‘Nick Caserio did a great job with free agency.’

Accounting for the acquisition of Diggs, who was given a $20.895 million signing bonus in what could amount to a one-year rental in exchange for a 2025 second-round draft pick or lead to a longer tenure depending on how the working relationship develops between the four-time Pro Bowl selection and the Texans, they doled out a maximum combined $212 million over the full term of their free agent signings, players acquired by trade and re-signings.

In the wake of a major spending spree for a franchise that went 11-8 last season with one playoff victory in a dramatic turnaround from a team that went a combined 11-38-1 over the previous three seasons, a lot is expected from a team that has rapidly emerged as a trendy Super Bowl contender as is embracing the heightened outlook.

“You want high expectations,” Texans foundation vice president Hannah McNair said during the owners’ meetings where Cal McNair was voted unanimously as principal owner. “You don’t want to go into something, going, ‘I hope we just make the playoffs. I hope we get a winning season.’ You always want the expectations to be high. I think the fact that we’re in those conversations is a testament to the decisions that are being made over the last couple of years.”

After years of instability and the firings of former general manager and coach Bill O’Brien, coach David Culley and coach Lovie Smith, the Texans are well-positioned.

“We only want to win the next game,” Cal McNair said. “We’re going to work hard on and off the field, and really put a great team on the field and have a bunch of leaders at every position and go out and play together and have fun doing it and go win.”

When Texans general manager Nick Caserio was hired by the McNair family, he inherited an extremely difficult situation.

Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson requested a trade before facing a series of lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. He was eventually traded to the Cleveland Browns for three first-round draft picks and signed to an unprecedented $230 million fully guaranteed contract.

“Unprecedented,” Hannah McNair said. “It was unprecedented what he came into and what he dealt with after that.”

Caserio has been the primary architect of the Texans’ overhauled roster and the upgrades of this offseason.

The Texans signed Hunter, a Morton Ranch graduate who’s one of the most athletic pass rushers in the league, to a two-year, $51 million contract as the replacement for defensive end Jonathan Greenard.

“He has the length, I think that’s what sets you apart as a pass rusher,” Ryans said. “Danielle’s length and his ability to consistently get after the quarterback, he’s had double-digit sacks multiple times in his career, and we’re looking for him to add constant pressure on the quarterback.”

They signed Al-Shaair to a three-year $34 million deal as the replacement for Blake Cashman.

They pursued Pro Bowl wide receiver Keenan Allen, offering a 2025 third-round draft pick and a pick swap to the Los Angeles Chargers before he was traded to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round selection. Then, they acquired Diggs.

They made a strong bid for running back Saquon Barkley before he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles for more money. Then, they traded a seventh-round pick for Mixon before signing him to a three-year, $27 million extension.

The Texans were outbid by the Cincinnati Bengals for defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and traded defensive tackle Maliek Collins to the San Francisco 49ers for a seventh-round draft pick. They replaced him with a combination of Tim Settle Jr. and Foley Fatukasi and retained Khalil Davis. They tried to trade with the 49ers for elite defensive tackle Arik Armstead, but he was instead released when the trade fell apart and signed a lucrative deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

They didn’t re-sign starting corner Steven Nelson after a five-interception season and added former first-round corners Jeff Okudah and C.J. Henderson.

Defensive tackle and corner remain arguably their greatest needs heading into a draft where they traded away their first-round draft pick to the Minnesota Vikings but have a pair of second-round selections.

The Texans signed Autry to a two-year, $20 million deal after he had 11 1/2 sacks last season for the Tennessee Titans.

Autry should inject toughness into the front seven and is a proven pass rusher.

“He does a really great job of rushing on the interior,” Ryans said. “In passing situations, we’ll move him around to where we feel like he’ll be most effective.”

It’s been a transformative couple of years for the Texans, including drafting Stroud second overall and Anderson Jr. third overall and hiring Ryans a year ago.

“He’s done a terrific job,” Cal McNair said. “He and Coach [Ryans] are working really well together, and I think that collaboration is going to take us a long ways. And I can’t wait to see the rest of this offseason. The first couple of weeks have been really good, and there’s a lot of free agency left.

“We’ve got a draft ahead of us and then some more roster moves all the way until the trading deadline and even then, how he manages the roster day to day working with the coach. I think he’s done a really, really good job in all those phases. I can’t wait for the next one.”

After the Diggs trade, the Texans’ Super Bowl odds improved to 15-to-1 (+1500) from 25-to-1 before the trade (+2500), via BetMGM.

The Texans’ offensive lineup now includes Stroud and Mixon in the backfield, Diggs, Nico Collins and Tank Dell at wide receiver, Schultz at tight end and Tunsil, the highest paid offensive lineman in the game with a $25 million annual compensation.

“Well, it’s fun to have those expectations and we embrace them,” Cal McNair said. “We know that we have to go out and work hard every day and start over. Basically, we’re starting a new season, putting a new team together with DeMeco and starting from scratch. It’s exciting, but we got a lot of work to do.”

A former NFL Assistant Coach of the Year as the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense, Ryans narrowly missed being named NFL Coach of the Year last season as he was edged by a single vote by Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection and former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Texans, Ryans’ leadership has galvanized the Texans’ locker room and the fan base.

“Oh, it’s been phenomenal,” Hannah McNair said. “But he’s been that way since he was a player here. He was that way in college. He was that way in high school. It’s a part of who he is, so you knew what you were getting.”

Randy McIlvoy is the sports director for KPRC 2 and

Aaron Wilson is the Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and

About the Authors

KPRC 2 Sports Director since 2004. Covers the Astros, Texans, Rockets, Dynamo, Dash and a few hundred local high schools across Greater Houston.

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