Roster cut-down day has yet to arrive and yet the Houston Texans decided to get a head start on the process. They announced the release of two of their veteran leaders Christian Kirksey and Desmond King III. I won't pretend to know the details and the process that led the organization to make these decisions but on my final 53-man roster projection, I did not have these two making the roster.
The reason for these releases is anyone's guess but in the case of Kirksey, it saves the team a significant amount of money, freeing up over $5 million under the salary cap. Kirksey also suffered a hamstring injury early in the preseason, which kept him out of all three games. I'll also add this, if the team had added Kirksey to the 53-man roster, they could have then placed him on IR due to the hamstring injury and opened a spot on the roster for someone else. By doing this, Kirksey would be required to be out a minimum of four weeks, rather than the season-ending. Since they did not do this, tells me this move was about money.
It will be interesting to see what the Texans elect to do with that savings, as I think part of the thought process here was to free up the cash in anticipation of potential cuts from other teams that might benefit the Texans to sign, particularly along the offensive line.
With King's release, I think he simply got beat out and the Texans wanted to go in a different direction. They are clearly comfortable with the trio of Derek Stingley Jr., Steven Nelson and Shaquill Griffin. Perhaps the team wasn't particularly happy with his performance and could use the money freed up in these two moves to add corner depth, if not along the offensive line.
I've even went to PFF to see how King performed this preseason according to those guys, and they scored him a coverage grade of 70.7, with a run defense grade of 60.6. Maybe Coach Ryans wants to put an emphasis on run defense, which may have led to his release.