Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown has ended his holdout and reported to the club, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
Brown, 32, hasn’t played a single game for Houston this season as he continues to push for a new contract. His decision to rejoin the Texans doesn’t necessarily mean the team’s front office has decided to cave on a new deal, and in fact there’s no indication that’s the case. Instead, Brown is likely reporting in order to gain credit for the 2017 season, as he needed to appear in eight games to do so.
Presuming that he’s ready to immediately step in at left tackle, Brown should provide a significant upgrade on the blindside. Houston has turned to Chris Clark (five starts) in Brown’s absence, but he’s offered a sub-par performance thus far, Pro Football Focus ranks Clark as just the No. 52 tackle among 71 qualifiers. While the Texans’ offensive line has played well in the run game, the unit is 31st in adjusted rack rate, according to Football Outsiders.
If the Texans are intent on not reaching a new deal with Brown, they could conceivably still trade him, something the club is reportedly open to doing. Cleveland currently owns Houston’s first- and second-round picks in 2018, so shipping Brown for draft capital could help the Texans recoup some of its lost assets. The Seahawks, notably, have been linked to a potential Brown acquisition.
But “barring the unforeseen,” Brown is set to play for the Texans, and not act as trade bait, tweets Rapoport. His return is coming at a fortuitous time, as Clark is now expected to miss a week or two after suffering a calf injury, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
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