In a surprising front office move, the Houston Texans released right tackle Eric Winston, one of the main cogs on their offensive line. The Miami alum was drafted by the Texans in 2006 and expects to be heavily pursued on the open market.
Trying to make sense of it, left tackle Duane Brown is due an extension next off-season. Fantastic center Chris Myers is likely to earn a significant raise this spring as is guard Mike Brisiel or the team risks losing both to free agency.
But according to Houston Chronicle beat writer John McClain, the Texans are only saving $4.5 million in cap space. Coupled with the ongoing restructuring of contracts, one would think Winston’s release might signal a major signing.
The only problem is that outside linebacker/defensive end Mario Williams may command the highest salary in the NFL for a defensive player once he reaches unrestricted free agency.
Unless Williams has already tipped off the Texans to a hometown discount, Winston’s waiver doesn’t equate with that deal.
And general manager Rick Smith has been loathe to commit lucrative dollars to a wide receiver beyond Andre Johnson.
So if the Texans have a trick up their sleeve, the franchise has certainly played a masterful poker face. But if saving money was the sole outlook in Winston’s dismissal, Houston failed to improve in their first off-season as a division favorite.