The Texans made a couple of roster moves today as the team prepared for their much needed bye week.
Reserve offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam and linebacker David Nixon were released according to multiple sources.
The release of Salaam was expected since Duane Brown is re-joining the team following his four game suspension. Rashad Butler, who started the past four games at left tackle in Brown’s absence, will return to his swing tackle role.
Nixon’s release was a bit of a surprise considering he was the #4 linebacker against the Chiefs on Sunday, and yesterday Gary Kubiak lamented about backup linebackers Kevin Bentley, Darryl Sharpton and Xavier Adibi being “not ready to go…”
Something must have happened overnight since Kubiak said today that “all indications are pointing toward (all three) being back next week.”
The release of Nixon and a report earlier today about the Texans working out free agent running back Alfonso Smith fueled speculation that a trade involving Steve Slaton might be in the works. But the trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. with no news of a trade. The Texans also worked out several linebackers according to the report.
Slaton has been relegated to #3 running back with the re-emergence of Derrick Ward plus Slaton has not done well on kickoff return duty.
Doing a little roster math, the Texans now have two open roster spots to fill.
Follow along: 53 – Salaam and Nixon = 51, + Duane Brown = 52, – DeMeco Ryans (who’s headed to IR) = 51.
Brown’s roster exemption may extend through this weekend. Teams can request an additional week exemption beyond the period of suspension, but that exemption expires immediately when the player is activated to the 53.
Who’s going to be the two adds?
Well, since there were no trades it will either have to be a practice squad promotion or a free agent signing from one of the players that worked out today.
One slot could also involve tight end Anthony Hill who’s been on the Reserve-Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list since the start of the season.
According to NFL rules, Reserve PUP players have a three week window after Week 6 to practice with the team but a roster decision must be made, either to activate to the 53 or to IR the player, within that timeframe.
It would seem odd for the Texans to carry five tight ends on the 53 especially since one, Garrett Graham, is rarely active on game day. It’s possible that the Texans could activiate Hill for the sole purpose of shoring up special teams units that have been highly affected by injury.
Bentley, Sharpton, Adibi, and Jesse Nading are examples of special teams players that haven’t been able to contribute recently because of injury. Nixon also played special teams.
Looking over the practice squad, I don’t see a promotion that’s obvious.
The practice squad currently consists of C Brett Helms, T Cole Pemberton, G Shelley Smith, WR Paul Williams, WR Derrick Townsel (who can return kicks), RB Chris Ogbonnaya, DT Malcolm Sheppard, and S Torri Williams.
So stay tuned since there will be two roster adds before the Indy game on November 1.
Update: As I was composing this, Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston reported that the Texans had worked out nine players today but didn’t sign any of them. Another report indicated that the Texans will work out more players on Wednesday.