As the Bill O’Brien era enters year number two, the roster will more closely resemble “Belichick-minded” talent as the Houston Texans try to build an identical system to lead the franchise to its first Superbowl. The Andre Johnson issue has been resolved, as the disgruntled but talented receiver has moved on to the Colts after being released. Now comes the next order of business – the future of running back Arian Foster.
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In my opinion the issue of Foster’s future is clear-cut. He shouldn’t be a part of the Texans future, period. Uh oh..wait a minute. Yes that’s correct, I am saying that it is literally time to part ways with Arian Foster right now. Foster holds the franchise record with 6,309 rushing yards and 53 rushing touchdowns. A trade would not nearly yield comparable talent, which is understandable in a market that no longer values the running back position as it used to. But something is simply better than nothing and the Texans are on their way to getting exactly that if they retain Foster much longer.
"“Any time an athlete goes through an injury like that: a back, a neck, even knees or hips, something that puts you out for the entire season you kind of re-evaluate your life,” Foster said during an interview with Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com. “You see what’s really important. Is getting paralyzed more important than playing with your grand kids when you’re 50, 60 years old. People die on the football field. This is a really brutal sport. Going through an injury like that, being 27 years old, I’m young, still I’m at the prime of my career. Is it worth it to try to come back?”"
Foster will count $18.4 million against the salary cap over the next two years and is 28 years old. At this point of his career I cannot envision a situation where he agrees to restructure while the team decides who will take the reins at quarterback and rebuilds the offensive line. It also should be noted that Houston could release Foster while accruing just a $5 million cap hit over the next two seasons.
If the Eagles found a trade partner for running back LeSean McCoy, then certainly the Texans can work out a trade in order to acquire a pick or a player. That trade would also eliminate Foster’s full cap hit of $18 million for the next two seasons off its payroll. Foster’s health is another obvious concern. He has a very lengthy injury history and the chronic injuries are getting worse every year. Despite that Foster would be a hot commodity on the trading block…if you move him now. After all, Foster had over 1,600 total yards with 13 touchdowns last season.
The Arizona Cardinals have been buzzing around a trade for running back Adrian Peterson and he would be a great fit there. The San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions are also teams that seem to be perfect fits for Foster, and he would certainly appreciate the opportunity to play his final years on one of those competitive teams. In order to make the deal work however, he would have to work out some type of extension or a restructure and if presented in this manner I am sure he would oblige.
The Texans could possibly arm themselves with multiple day one picks and could secure a workhorse back in the 2nd round such as University of Miami stud Duke Johnson. If the Texans are going to get to the next level and get past the Indianapolis Colts, Then this issue must be addressed immediately. The quarterback battle between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett could possibly see-saw based on performance this season, and it is not fair to either of the prospective starting quarterbacks to have instability in the backfield.
There has been a high correlation between Foster injuries and losses. The departure of Foster would signify the move toward a solid stable of backs instead of dependence on an elite back with little depth behind him.