ON THE OUTS?
Del Olaleye: 3 players you may not see on the Texans after 2018
The NFL draft is a weird dichotomy. It means new hope for over 250 players and maybe the beginning of the end for countless others. Teams are afforded seven picks not including compensatory picks and others acquired through trades and those new players have to go somewhere. That means plenty of guys who had roster spots in 2017 may not have them in 2018. The NFL isn’t a game, but a business and with this influx of cheap labor somebody has to go. This cycle repeats itself every year so let’s talk about some Texans who may not call Houston home after the 2018 season.
Kareem Jackson CB
Jackson was a first round pick in 2010. That designation in itself provides plenty of job security. Under Rick Smith it meant you were going to be given every opportunity to prove your worth. The first round pick out of Alabama struggled mightily early in his career but to his credit improved and became a solid member of a top-flight defense. At age 30, with rumblings of a switch to safety, Jackson’s time with Texans could be coming to end. Specifically because any move to safety could be short-circuited by the Texans drafting Justin Reid, the safety from Stanford. Signing Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t make a position switch more likely for Jackson. Mathieu is only on a one-year deal but a big year in Romeo Crennel’s defense would make him an attractive player for the Texans to sign long-term.
Jackson is in the final year of his deal and his 2018 salary will be $6.5 million. Corners who are considered solid at best and who have lost a step don’t usually get paid what they think they’re worth. An average to subpar year from Jackson in Houston could see him looking to sign a final big deal someplace else.
Johnathan Joseph CB
Joseph at points appears to be teflon but his recent contract extension really just amounts to a one-year deal with a club option for an extra year. If Joseph were to be cut after the 2018 season it would cost the Texans nothing. The 2011 free agent acquisition from the Bengals helped turn a defense that everyone saw as a glaring weakness into the backbone of a team that won four division titles in six seasons. At 34-years-old Joseph’s play has declined as you’d expect and the Texans should be looking for a long-term replacement. Though the organization signed Aaron Colvin in the offseason, the pressing need for a young No. 1 corner still remains. While the team did pick up the 5th-year option on 2015 first round CB Kevin Johnson, his inconsistent play and injuries mean the Texans are still hoping he becomes a long-term answer. A first round CB should be high on the list of priorities for the Texans. Paying Joseph in 2019 at 35-years-old shouldn’t be.
Lamar Miller RB
It wouldn’t surprise me if what Miller did in a Week 6 matchup in 2015 against the Texans as member of the Miami Dolphins is the reason the Texans signed him. That day he accounted for 241 total yards and two touchdowns. In a game that the Dolphins led 41-0 at the half, Miller ran for an 85-yard touchdown and caught a screen pass for a 54-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Coupled with Arian Foster tearing his achilles tendon in the same game it almost seemed like Miller’s dominance that day was enough for him to be viewed as Foster’s replacement. Unfortunately the explosive all-purpose threat the Texans saw that day has not manifested itself in Houston.
The University of Miami product only carried the ball 20 times or more in a game twice in his entire career with the Dolphins. He carried the ball 20 times or more three times in his first three games with the Texans. Miscast as a workhorse back in his first season in Houston, the big-play capabilities Miller showed on the college level and with the Dolphins have not been evident in Houston. Miller’s cap hit is $7.25 million in 2019 while cutting him would save the Texans $6 million. Miller will be 28-years-old when the 2019 season begins and barring a year that far exceeds his first two years in Houston he could be another core member of the Texans to be looking for work elsewhere.