In the words of the victim himself:
Unfortunately I have bad news. The Texans have decided to release me today. Although it is a surprise, I have nothing but positive memories
via Eric Winston’s Twitter (@ericwinston)
On the financial front, letting Winston go saves the Texans an extra $5.5 million next season. While we fully understand that freeing up cap space is a priority for cap-stricken teams on the eve of NFL free agency, this move is still baffling on many levels.
For an NFL offensive line, consistency and continuity are usually emphasized as the key to success. With this move, however, apparently the Texans have other plans. As of now, we have no idea what Rick Smith and Co. have up their sleeves, but hopefully an announcement of Mario Williams’ new contract, or a new deal for Chris Myers, is waiting in the wings. Otherwise, if Winston’s release ends up being just a plain salary-dumping move, the question becomes why does it have to be Winston? What about Jacoby Jones and his $3.5 million cap hit, or Matt Leinart’s $3 million. In any case, it is extremely bewildering to let go of such a valuable piece on the offense for nothing.
In the end, we at ToroTimes would like to say goodbye to Winston. Football is a business, but it’s still really sad to see such a classy player go abruptly like this. Winston has been a rock at RT and played a huge part in the success of the Texans’ offensive line in years past. Thank you for all you’ve done to the Texans organization and best of luck to the next steps of your career, Mr. Winston!
UPDATE: per ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter’s Twitter (@AdamSchefter):
This is not to make room for Peyton Manning: Texans cut quarterback Matt Leinart.
Another $3 million off the books. It seems more and more likely that the Texans are up to something.