The only center to start a Texans game during Deshaun Watson‘s career is now on the market. The Texans released Nick Martin on Friday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter). The move is now official.
A 2016 fifth-round pick, Martin missed his entire rookie season but established himself as Houston’s starting center a year later. In every game Watson played as a pro, Martin operated as his center. Martin will join Senio Kelemete as Texans O-linemen cut this week. The Texans also released Duke Johnson on Friday.
By releasing Martin, the Texans will save $6.25MM in cap space. The younger brother of Zack Martin, Nick was due a $7.25MM base salary in 2021 and was signed through the ’22 season. The Texans have moved up to north of $15MM in cap space.
The Texans gave Martin a three-year, $33MM extension ahead of the 2019 season. Going into Friday, that deal remained a top-five center contract. The Nick Caserio–David Culley regime will now look for a new snapper. Whether the new center will snap to Watson in 2021 is certainly another story.
Pro Football Focus has never been especially high on Martin’s work, grading him as the league’s No. 29 center last season and never slotting him higher than 17th. Martin, however, has not missed a start since the 2017 season and remains in his prime. He will turn 28 this offseason.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.