The Houston Texans are one of the deepest teams at the tight end position in the league, and that depth really helped them out this year due to injuries to Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham. Daniels’s injury was more severe and caused him to play in just five games, but Graham’s injury forced rookie tight end Ryan Griffin to start the last few games for the Texans. The seventh-round rookie looks great for a No. 3 TE, and he did a solid job as the starter and gives the Texans plenty of hope for the future.
His emergence and the continued solid play of Graham have made Daniels a tad expendable, even if Daniels is a very reliable pass-catcher and one of the top tight ends in the NFL. According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Tania Ganguli, Daniels is well-aware that there is a distinct possibility that he ends up a cap casualty, though he feels that his talent and importance in the offense (as well as his status as a leader on the team) make him worth keeping.
Daniels has a cap hit of $6.25 million next season, which is a large sum of money at the tight end position. If the Texans chose to cut ties with Daniels this offseason, then they would save $3.5 million. He’s a very good player, but both Graham and Griffin are good enough No. 2 and 3 options that they would still give the Texans a quality 1-2 punch at tight end. Plus, the money saved to go to a position that the Texans need to upgrade, such as safety.
This is a situation worth watching in the offseason, and while I expect the Texans to retain the solid TE, I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if the team decided to save their money on a guy who can only be counted on to play 11 games per season, if you average out all of his absences in the past five years.