On Tuesday afternoon, general manager Nick Caserio and head coach DeMeco Ryans were required to cut Houston’s roster down to 53 players. As such, the team saw a flurry of transactions as over 1,000 players from around the league were either waived or released after the preseason period.
It’s been 48 hours and Houston was able to use their waiver position to add two players to the roster, former Buffalo Bills Alex Austin and Nick Broeker, which means the roster is largely set for their Week 1 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
With time for reflection, who were the most surprising cuts for the Houston Texans?
CB Desmond King
King was a staple of the Texans defense under Lovie Smith the past two seasons. After a brief stint in Tennessee, King had emerged as one of the league’s premier slot cornerbacks in Houston and was nationally recognized for his ability to contribute in that role. It didn’t hurt that he was also one of Houston’s best returners for their special teams units.
— Shaun Bijani (@ShaunBijani) August 30, 2023
His unique skillset and practice time almost exclusively with the first team over the past two seasons made King the most shocking cut of the deadline. He quickly landed on his feet, signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers just a day later.
DT Roy Lopez
Lopez was one of Nick Caserio’s first draft selections in Houston, taken in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft. He’d received a good deal of snaps next to Maliek Collins over the past two seasons and was thought to be a depth piece on the roster moving forward.
It appears his preseason performance wasn’t enough.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 28, 2023
The free agent acquisitions of Hassan Ridgeway and Sheldon Rankins left Lopez on the outside looking in after an injury this preseason. It may not be entirely his fault he didn’t land a spot on the final 53, but it was certainly a surprise to watch a homegrown contributor cut after the past two years.
DE Jacob Martin
Martin was signed this offseason as a relative afterthought. He’d left the year prior to play for the New York Jets and didn’t last a full season under head coach Robert Saleh. However, his story in Houston had been different. Martin was consistently working with the second team defense and thought to be the clear fourth pass rusher on the team after Will Anderson, Jonathan Greenard and Jerry Hughes.
Jacob Martin getting cut is a bit of a surprise.
He ran with the 1s from time to time and DeMeco Ryans spoke highly of him.
— Chancellor Johnson (@ChancellorTV) August 29, 2023
Martin’s absence isn’t the most impactful one, he would have largely been restricted to rotational work behind Anderson and Greenard. It was still surprising to see him axed after his work in training camp.