Farewell Houston

Patrick Creighton: Texans look cheap in cutting Derek Newton

The Texans cut Derek Newton despite being thin at tackle. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Reports Thursday have indicated the Houston Texans will release OT Derek Newton, who has been working his way back from double torn patella tendons suffered Week 7 of the 2016 season and have kept him out of action since.

A double patella tear in a 6’6” 315 lb. man is a devastating injury, yet Newton has worked his tail off to return to the field. Newton had been cleared by doctors to participate in the Texans offseason program, but the team has decided to part ways with him anyway.

Newton, a 7th rd. pick out of Arkansas State in 2011, progressed quickly under head coach Bill O’Brien after struggling in former coach Gary Kubiak’s system. Newton was the team’s starting right tackle, and even spelled some at left tackle when needed. He also played guard at times due to injuries on the line, and displayed his versatility well.

Newton was due a $500k roster bonus on April 1, which the team has not paid yet, and is refusing to pay, claiming he could not pass a physical.

For a team that is in dire straits at offensive tackle, this seems to be a strange position to take.

We already know teams can flunk guys on physicals for anything, and that it can be a shady process used to get out of deals a team has second thoughts on. Considering Newton was just cleared by doctors, and the Texans are very weak at tackle, why not keep a guy on your roster that has shown in the past he can be a solid tackle?

Newton has had an incredibly tough road to hoe, but he’s done it, and continues to do so. It would still be an uphill climb for him to get ready for opening day, but it’s possible he could help the team this year.  So what’s with the hurry to let him go and stiff him on the bonus?

The bonus is only $500k. The Texans still have over $32M of cap space available. It’s not like they needed the money to make another move to replace him. They had all the opportunity in the world in free agency to sign players. It doesn’t make sense to cut a guy who may be able to help your team during the season over $500k when you don’t need the money. What are you saving it for?

Newton has been a good soldier for the Texans. He even agreed to restructure his contract last year to alleviate the team of longer term liability to him if he couldn’t make it back. Originally set to make $4.75M for 2017-2019 in base salary, he accepted a reduction to $1.75M guaranteed 2017 and non-guaranteed salaries of $2.25M for 2018 and $2M for 2019. He would have a chance to recoup the lost money in per-game active roster bonuses.

Bottom line: The Texans cut a guy returning from injury who was just cleared by doctors who wasn’t making much money, when they have more money than they can spend at this point, and who plays a position they are desperate for help at.  

Forgive me but that makes zero sense.

I could certainly understand if Newton had not been cleared. However, he has been cleared by none other than world renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, and was successfully doing one legged squats.  

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien offered testimony to Newton’s work ethic on the comeback trail.

"Nobody's worked harder than Derek Newton to try to get back to where he's at. That guy's been in there every single day at 6 a.m., five days a week. He probably comes in on the weekends on his own.”

Yet the team is abandoning all hope on him and stiffing him on the roster bonus.

For a team that drastically needs all the offensive tackles it can find, this comes across as the ultimate penny pinch.

 

Patrick Creighton is the host of “Straight Heat” 9p-12a CT on SB Nation Radio & SportsMap 94.1FM Houston.  He also hosts “Nate & Creight” Sundays 12-5p CT on SB Nation Radio & SportsMap 94.1 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @pcreighton1

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Watson was missing from practice again. Photo by Zach Tarrant/HoustonTexans.com.

The Houston Texans had their second day in pads and it was a bright day for a couple of rookies.

1. Deshaun Watson was absent again from practice. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly explained the team is keeping Watson "engaged" and he has been helpful in the meeting room with the offense.

2. Watson, if Kelly is telling the truth, can absolutely help the quarterbacks with his knowledge. The offense shouldn't be that different, and Watson doesn't have anything against the quarterbacks specifically. It is strange to think Deshaun Watson would be helping the quarterbacks while actively wanting to be playing elsewhere, but Kelly has no reason to lie about Watson's level of engagement.

3. It was Roy Lopez day on Wednesday. The rookie defensive lineman had a sack and is quite the load to handle upfront. Lopez will have to build on these days to earn time on a busy defensive line but if he repeats this day, people will have to beat him out.

4. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins finds himself open quite a bit. Collins isn't afraid of traffic, though there aren't any real big hits in training camp. Collins' athleticism is very clear and as he grows more, he should earn more opportunities.

5. Brandin Cooks threw his hands up and let out an exasperated sound as Tyrod Taylor found Collins wide open in the middle of the field. Cooks was even more wide open in the end zone, and Taylor didn't see him.

6. Tyrod Taylor's legs will be a weapon in this offense. Taylor doesn't take off in a lot of the drills, but his mobility is apparent. Taylor did run into a sack by defensive lineman Derek Rivers.

7. Veteran wide receiver Chris Conley is extremely athletic and speedy. Conley can get vertical on all the defensive backs. In a pass-catching drill Conley wowed. The drill consisted of a coach wearing a pad and attacking the wideouts on a jump ball. Conley skied, ripped the ball out of the air, and withstood the attack from the coach easily coming down on both feet. Conley would make the team if the season started tomorrow.

8. Tight end Pharaoh Brown had a great catch beating Justin Reid for a touchdown on a pass from Tyrod Taylor. Reid was very upset he lost the rep. Brown was solid last year and he remains one of the better tight ends on the team.

9. Linebacker Neville Hewitt has had some flashes in camp. Hewitt had over 100 tackles for the Jets last year to go along with 12 tackles for a loss over the past two seasons. Hewitt had a hurry on Tuesday and a pass breakup on Wednesday. Hewitt is certainly in consideration for a spot in the revamped linebacker room.

10. Defensive linemen Charles Omenihu and Jonathan Greenard each had sacks in a team period. Omenihu's rep was a forced fumble and Greenard darted through the middle of the line for his successful rep.

11. Tytus Howard had a hold your breath moment when he slowly got off the ground and gingerly walked off the field. Howard had to walk it off, but returned to practice with no issue. He has played a multitude of positions in training camp.

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