With Houston's wide receiver room suddenly not a barren hellscape (aside from the greatness that is DeAndre Hopkins, of course) veteran Cecil Shorts III has accepted a pay cut in order to remain a member of the Houston Texans, at least for now.
Source: Texans WR Cecil Shorts has taken a pay cut. His base salary is down from $2.7M to $1.2M, but now has $500K roster bonus. A $1M cut.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) June 18, 2016
Depending on bonuses, the full pay cut could actually be reduced to $800K.
Shorts' greatest value in Bill O'Brien's eyes right now may well just be his age. Entering his sixth season, Shorts is the elder statesman among teammates Hopkins, Jaelen Strong, Keith Mumphery, plus rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller. Despite the cut, Shorts is still a good bet to be either the final WR cut or the last WR on the roster with Nuk, Fuller, Miller, and Strong as locks.
Strong of course has seen rave reviews for his OTA and minicamp "performances," but he's also now gotten himself in the NFL drug program. The Texans could certainly use a "veteran presence" at WR, but from all accounts Hopkins himself has become quite a leader, so that aspect is surely under control. Mumphery, though apparently loved by the coaches, likely isn't long for Houston. I'd be quite surprised if the Texans elected to keep six WRs, but maybe the TE situation is so bad that O'Brien will just opt for a constant diet of 5-wide (not really).
All this said - I could be COMPLETELY off-base here in thinking that Shorts won't automatically be handed the starting WR2 job over Fuller. Maybe O'Brien is so afraid of having a sudden influx of young/rookie talent in the lineup that Shorts sticks opposite Hopkins, at least to start - but Fuller would have to be pretty awful in the early going for that to be any kind of a logical move considering not only his draft position, but the new "need for speed" philosophy.