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Houston Texans v. Arizona Cardinals: Kareem Jackson Needs To Impress Tonight

Even though it's just Week 1 of the preseason, there are important bits of information that we can pick out. Here's whom I'll be looking at tonight.

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I'll be anxiously looking at this new offense. Yes, I'll be salivating any time the defense trots on the field. Yes, I'll whoop loudly any time Shane Lechler booms another punt, but here's an angle that I think hasn't been discussed enough: Kareem Jackson.

Johnathan Joseph is out tonight, leaving Iced Kareem atop the cornerback depth chart. He'll have a mini-audition a the team's top cornerback tonight as he potentially lines up against star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The Texans brass will soon reach a major crossroads at the cornerback position.

2011 5,500,000 2,500,000 - - - - - 8,000,000 -
2012 2,250,000 2,500,000 - 1,250,000 - - - 6,000,000 -
2013 7,500,000 2,500,000 - 1,250,000 - - - 11,250,000 11,250,000
2014 7,500,000 2,500,000 - 1,250,000 - - - 11,250,000 7,500,000
2015 8,500,000 2,500,000 - 1,250,000 - - - 12,250,000 3,750,000

That's the breakdown of Joseph's contract, thanks to Spotrac. If J-Jo stumbles through another injury-plagued year, he will be a prime candidate for release during the 2015 offseason. The team would save $8.5 million in cap room. That's money that could easily be thrown at Kareem Jackson, hopefully before he hits the open market. If you remember how disastrous the Texans' 2010 season was (ironically, due in large part to Kareem Jackson's play as a rookie that year), you know how important capable cornerbacks are to a defense. If you don't remember, all you need to know is that the team's top three CBs had just two years of experience between them.

Jackson needs to be re-signed because there's no one that's shown any potential at all behind him. And because Jackson himself is a case study that even first-round picks need time to adjust to the league's pass-happy offense. Because of this, Jackson should be priority A1 for re-signing...we'd all just feel a lot better if we thought he deserved it.

Tonight's game is step one towards making that happen.

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