Kirksey, 30, played 30 games for the Texans over the past two seasons, starting in 29 of them. The former Cleveland Browns 2014 third-round pick collected 137 combined tackles, 13 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, 3.0 sacks, 13 pass breakups, three interceptions, and three fumble recoveries.
The 6-2, 235-pounder was a decent fit for the Texans when they deployed their Tampa 2 the past two seasons. New coach DeMeco Ryans wanted to work with Kirksey despite the scheme change, but here three reasons why Kirksey won’t be in Houston in 2023.
Age and availability
It would be understandable to speculate that Kirksey is still battling with an injury, but the 30-year-old has recovered. Nevertheless it does highlight just how much tread is still on the tire. Last year was the first time since 2017 that Kirksey started a season’s complement worth of games. Unfortunately, football will always be a young man’s game.
The development of Christian Harris entering his second season and even fifth-rounder Henry To’oTo’o has given the Texans options on defense. Given Houston will deploy more of a nickel look with just two linebackers, there weren’t many spaces for a linebacker with Kirksey’s skillset.
Salary cap space
The Texans save $5.2 million against the salary cap with releasing Kirksey. The move may not be much, but it could be better used elsewhere.