The Texans traded the New York Jets a conditional 2012 draft pick for veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason on Wednesday. They also signed wide receiver Trindon Holliday and outside linebacker Jesse Nading to the active roster.
Holliday will return punts and kickoffs, allowing receiver Jacoby Jones and safety Danieal Manning to focus on their primary positions. Nading takes the roster spot of Mario Williams, who was placed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.
The Texans released running back Chris Ogbonnaya and wide receiver David Anderson. They signed linebacker Thaddeus Gibson and wide receiver Juaquin Iglesias to their practice squad.
Mason, 37, has 1,000-plus receiving yards in eight of the last 10 seasons. He ranks 18th in NFL history with 12,006 career yards. He recently was relegated to the bench in his first season in New York, and the Texans were thin at receiver with hamstring injuries hobbling Andre Johnson and Bryant Johnson.
"We've played maybe two-and-a-half games with three healthy wide receivers, so it's really been scary from that standpoint," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We had a chance to go get a guy that still runs very well even though he's played a long time in this league. He's been very effective in this league. We feel like we can catch him up real fast, so that was a big key."
Mason (5-10, 197) started his career with the Tennessee Titans from 1997-2004. He spent the 2005-10 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, who the Texans play in Week 6. He had 61 catches for 802 yards and seven touchdowns with Baltimore last season.
"Derrick is a great route runner and has great hands," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who coached Mason from 2008-10, said Wednesday. "Anytime he gets any kind of one-on-one coverage, he's not going to be a guy you're going to be able to cover that way. He'll find a way to get open. Matt (Schaub) is a good timing passer and very accurate. He can get him the ball. Derrick is really competitive. He wants to be a big part of what's going on, and that's what has made him so good all of those years."
Holliday (5-5, 159) was a Texans sixth-round pick in 2010. After spending his rookie year on injured reserve, he was waived this preseason in final roster cuts, signed to the practice squad and released on Oct. 5. The NCAA's 100-meter sprint champion in 2009 with a time of 10.0 seconds, he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"Our two returners (Manning and Jones) are starters that have played a ton of football," Kubiak said. "We need to make sure we're being fair to those guys from a freshness standpoint, so we're bringing Trindon back to hopefully give us a little bit in the return game and hopefully play a few special teams for us."
Nading (6-5, 261) was signed by the Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He had stints on the active roster in each of the last three seasons. He impressed Kubiak this year in training camp and the preseason before being waived and signed to the practice squad.
"Jesse's going to play big for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano)," Kubiak said. "He'll play everything on special teams. He will be a backup to Connor (Barwin) on the strongside, so he'll get some reps there." Twitter.com/NickScurfield