The Houston Texans cut ties with Arian Foster this morning, and the immediate reaction of fans across the country may well be, "Why would they do that?". The answer is brutally simple and all too common in today's NFL.
Clears $6.625M in cap space. https://t.co/t1ziPDnNZp— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 3, 2016
While the Texans were already well below the cap limit, having another $6,625,000.00 to play with helps, especially when it comes to trying to re-sign priority free agents like Brandon Brooks and Ben Jones, or perhaps bringing in a player or two from elsewhere to shore up the team.
The second reason for Foster's release is a combination of age and health. He turns 30 in August and is coming off a torn Achilles. Either one of those factors would be concerning on their own. In tandem, they rise to the level of frightening, particularly when it comes to what one could reasonably expect from Arian in 2016.
Add in the cap savings from the way Arian's contract was structured when he signed a long-term deal in 2012, and the organization's decision to part ways with one of the best players in its history becomes justifiable.
As unwelcome as today's news was, Texans fans weren't caught off guard by the move; indeed, the majority of us expected it to happen, as evidenced by the results of this poll from last month. The decision is entirely defensible from an organizational standpoint.
Yet I can't help but feel bummed by the reality that Arian Foster is no longer a Texan. Much more to come on that. If you need any help getting sentimental about Arian's time in Houston, check out these quotes from the press conference the team held almost exactly four years ago when Arian signed a five-year contract extension to stay in Houston.