The Houston Texans currently have $17.5 million in cap space. The following players are possible cuts to create additional cap space: Brandin Cooks ($8.75 million), Eric Murray ($5.4 million), Marcus Cannon ($5.2 million), Ka’imi Fairbairn ($2.8 million), Kevin Pierre-Louis ($3.1 million), Terrance Mitchell ($3.1 million), Jordan Jenkins ($2.8 million), Justin McCray ($2.3 million), and Max Scharping ($2.5 million).
Of all these possible cuts, which one do the Texans need to release first and foremost? Out of this list, who do you want to see remain on the 2022 Houston Texans?
These were the questions I asked the masthead. These were our responses:
Aside from Cooks, based on performance alone every one of these players can and should be released. Murray was asked to play multiple roles and didn’t do any of them well, Cannon was fine but is 35 and has injury problems, Fairbairn is paid like one of the best kickers in the league but is as average as it gets, Pierre-Louis doesn’t exist, Mitchell was bad, Jenkins didn’t contribute much as a pass rusher, McCray made one good block all season, Scharping is a tackle whose game didn’t translate to the NFL but never gained the strength to play guard.
Personally, I’d cut the entire group and try and find younger talent to replace them, and churn the roster. The Texans wouldn’t miss anyone from this group. Cannon is the one who needs to be cut first though. Tytus Howard needs to be play tackle, left tackle specifically once Laremy Tunsil is traded, and Houston can trot out Charlie Heck and see if he can perform to become a competent starter this year if worst comes to worst.
Cooks is the player on this list worth keeping. Davis Mills needs some level of receiving talent, and Cooks is the only one who provides this on the roster. Keeping Cooks is to help Mills’s development. There have been trade rumors surrounding Cooks, but the only reason for this is if he merely played the good soldier to get through 2021, and wants to play for a winning team in 2022. If so, a second round pick would be a fair trade for Houston’s only good wide receiver.
For me, the only player that matters out of this entire group is Cooks. Trade him.
Every other listed player is perfectly fungible, if not downright uncromulent.
I think the question you meant to write was “After the immediate purging of Eric Murray via email, phone call, walking papers and/or the stealth catapult from Men in Tights, who would be next on the list?” Hard to find a more unjustified free agency contract than that one, and given what the BO’B McEasterby regime wrought, that is saying something.
Honestly, every single one of these players could be cut for cap purposes and the team can and should move on to something else. Maybe you can work something with Cooks with a trade, or resign with a lower overall cap number, but otherwise, it is priority one, recoup as much cap space as possible, all other priorities rescinded. All of those players expendable. The first (after Murray) on that list is Cannon, and it is not even close. He was not terrible when healthy, but he is old and injury-prone. Plus, it is through his existence that the team seems to think that Tytus Howard could actually turn into a guard, which, after watching his career over the past few seasons, is not the case. Let Howard play at Tackle. Right or Left, but don’t force him into a guard spot, where he is not near as good. Unfortunately, the team is still telling itself that Howard can be a guard, as if the past season of game film never existed.
Of course, watch the team find some way to keep Murray and Cannon, force-feed Howard in the guard spot, and we can debate this exact same question at the same time next year.
Nobody needs to get cut because it’s not like there are going to be amazing free agent chases. But I guess the guy who stands out as a bad fit to me is Cannon considering the Texans have three other playable tackles already and he’s nearing 35.
Honestly, I hope they keep Brandin Cooks. He was the only reliable target for Davis Mills last season and if they want Mills to hold the fort down til another franchise quarterback comes along, the kid is going to need a go-to receiver. Mills has a big arm and Cooks has fleet feet without the durability issues of Will Fuller V. Cooks has expressed a desire to stay, has shown he can still produce in the looney bin culture Easterby has created and he and Mills have 11+ games together to build chemistry. Keeping him makes a lot of sense right now. Maybe turn him loose next year, or consider trading him at the deadline next fall. But, let Mills have at least one dependable set of hands to start his sophomore campaign.
After that, KPL and Fairbairn maybe, but the rest can go fish.