No. 1 contract the Houston Texans are ready to see expire: Christian Kirksey, LB
The Texans were in horrible shape in 2021 but they still managed to make several additions in free agency. The problem was that most of the players they signed were of the journeyman variety (Vernon Hargreaves) or simply past their prime (Mark Ingram II).
Then again, Houston had a few hits, such as defensive tackle Malik Collins and cornerback Desmond King II. Another player that stood out from the Texans' free agent class was linebacker Christian Kirksey, who's suited up for 30 games with 29 starts in the last two years.
A third-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2014, Kirksey joined the Green Bay Packers in 2020 and signed with the Texans the following year. To his credit, he's been serviceable in spite of all the coaching changes but his days in Houston could be close to an end.
For starters, head coach DeMeco Ryans inherited Kirksey, so he has no attachment to him. Although the former Iowa Hawkeye could make a positive impression in training camp, he might need to fend off a couple of newcomers, Denzel Perryman and Cory Littleton.
While it's true that Kirksey has been a key cog on the Texans' defense, the team's brass wouldn't have signed Perryman and Littleton if they didn't think they could contribute. Even though Perryman struggles in coverage and Littleton's forte isn't stopping the run, both might be better fits in Ryan's system than Kirksey.
If Houston decides they've seen enough of Kirksey, they could release him at any time before the start and free up $5.4 million in cap space with $1 million in dead money.