Marcus Cannon

Texans Release OL Marcus Cannon

Marcus Cannon‘s stint with the Texans has come to an end. The Texans are releasing the veteran offensive lineman, reports Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (via Twitter).

On Thursday, it will be the one-year anniversary of Cannon joining Houston. The Texans acquired the lineman from the Patriots (along with a fifth- and sixth-round pick) for a fourth- and sixth-round pick.

Cannon started the first four games for the Texans, getting in 88 percent of the team’s offensive snaps. However, he landed on IR in early October with a disc issue, and he didn’t end up seeing the field again during the 2021 campaign.

The 2011 fifth-round pick had previously spent his entire career in New England, earning three Super Bowl rings and a second-team All-Pro nod. The lineman started 69 of his 115 games with the Patriots, including 15 starts in 2020. The 33-year-old also got into 19 playoff games, starting 11.

Texans OL Marcus Cannon Likely Done For Year

The Texans recently placed OL Marcus Cannon on IR, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter), the 33-year-old blocker will require back surgery. Cannon is expected to be out for about 12 weeks, and if that timeline holds, Cannon’s season will be over (assuming Houston doesn’t qualify for the playoffs). Per veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, Cannon is dealing with a herniated disc (Twitter link).

GM Nick Caserio was very familiar with Cannon from his days with the Patriots, and Caserio swung a trade with New England in March to bring Cannon to Houston. A June knee surgery put Cannon’s Week 1 status in jeopardy, but he started each of the Texans’ first four games of the season before missing last week’s loss to the Pats

Cannon has never been a world-beater, but he does provide valuable experience and can play multiple positions along the O-line. All of his snaps this season were taken at right tackle, and Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics gave him a solid 65.2 overall grade for his efforts. 2020 fourth-rounder Charlie Heck will presumably serve as the starting RT going forward.

Cannon is under contract through 2022, and he is owed a fairly reasonable $4.7MM base salary next season, though he does have a $1.5MM roster bonus and would carry a $6.35MM cap hit. The Texans could clear that entire figure from their books if they were to release Cannon, which seems like a real possibility.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/9/21

Here is Week 5 Saturday’s minor move spree:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

  • Promoted: TE Shane Zylstra

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Injury Notes: Fisher, Cannon, Wagner

The Colts were hoping for a Week 1 return for new LT Eric Fisher, who has been rehabbing from the torn Achilles tendon he suffered as a member of the Chiefs in January. According to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star, Fisher had a real chance to suit up for the September 12 opener against Seattle, but his recent positive test for COVID-19 has seriously complicated matters.

Fisher’s positive result has forced him to quarantine for 10 days — which suggests he is not vaccinated — so he is unable to continue his rehab at the team facility. As such, there is no way for the Colts to comment on his availability until he is activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Until he is ready to go, Indy will roll with Julie’n Davenport at left tackle.

Let’s take a look at several other injury-related items:

  • Texans OL Marcus Cannon was recently activated off the PUP list, and as veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson tweets, there is optimism that Cannon could be ready for Week 1. Houston acquired Cannon in a March trade with the Patriots, but the 33-year-old underwent knee surgery in June and had been recovering ever since. For now, Houston is set to deploy second-year pro Charlie Heck at RT, but Cannon could push Heck for that job while also providing valuable depth at multiple spots along the O-line.
  • The Seahawks have been without LB Bobby Wagner for the past few practices, but there is no cause for alarm. Per head coach Pete Carroll (via Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk), Wagner is simply recovering from a minor knee procedure similar to those he has undergone in recent preseasons. The future Hall-of-Famer has missed just two games over the past six years.
  • The fact that Broncos OL Brett Jones landed on IR prior to final cutdown day suggested that his season was over, and that turned out to be the case. Mike Klis of 9News.com recently tweeted that Jones suffered a torn biceps in the team’s second preseason game and required season-ending surgery. Jones, who appeared in 61 games (19 starts) with the Giants and Vikings over the past five seasons, just signed with Denver in July.

Texans Cut OL Lane Taylor, Get Roster To 53

While much of the focus in Houston is on quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans still needed to reduce their roster today. They did just that, making the following transactions:

Released

Waived

Released/Failed Physical

Activated from PUP

Placed on Reserve/Suspended list

There’s a number of notable names on this list, including wideout Keke Coutee, who has started 10 of his 23 games over the past three years for the Texans. Perhaps the most important move is the activation of Cannon, who was acquired from the Patriots earlier this offseason. The 33-year-old is expected to provide the Texans offense with a veteran presence, and his return to practice may have bumped another veteran from the roster. The team released lineman Lane Taylor, who sat on PUP for all of the preseason while recovering from a torn ACL. The veteran has only appeared in two games since the 2019 season, and his return to the NFL will now have to take place elsewhere.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here.

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Signed: WR Reece Horn

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Placed on IR: DT Rob Windsor (out for year)

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

  • Signed: TE Carson Meier
  • Cut with injury settlement: TE Jibri Blount

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Signed: DB Chris Cooper

Tennessee Titans

Surgery For Texans’ Marcus Cannon

Texans tackle Marcus Cannon underwent minor knee surgery following the team’s OTAs (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Fortunately, Cannon’s already on the mend and he’s expected to be ready in time for training camp.

[RELATED: Watson Still Interested In Broncos]

New Texans GM Nick Caserio traded for Cannon in March, bringing a familiar face to Houston. The deal saw the Texans and Patriots swap draft positions in the fourth round, fifth round, and sixth round, a reasonable sacrifice for an experienced starter.

Cannon has appeared in 115 games over the course of his career, including 69 starts, mostly at right tackle. The Texans are planning to slot him at right guard with Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard manning the outside. Tackles are typically pricier than guards, but Cannon is owed just $4.7MM over the next two seasons, so his salary isn’t prohibitive for an interior lineman.

Cannon opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, but the Texans believe that the 33-year-old is in game shape, or close enough to it. But, if his health proves to be an issue, they have recently-signed ex-Packer Lane Taylor as insurance.

Patriots Trade OT Marcus Cannon To Texans

New Texans GM Nick Caserio is bringing in a familiar face. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Houston will acquire OT Marcus Cannon from the Patriots, and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that the two clubs will exchange draft positions in the 2021 fourth round, fifth round, and sixth round (Twitter links).

After the Pats traded for Trent Brown last week, speculation concerning Cannon’s roster spot began to pick up. Many assumed that New England would let him go in order to create $6.3MM of cap space, but the club managed to get its cap relief while also upgrading its picks in the middle rounds of next month’s draft.

As Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets, Cannon will likely be shifted to guard in Houston, as the Texans are set at right tackle with Tytus Howard. Cannon is owed $4.7MM in each of the next two seasons, so his salary isn’t prohibitive for a guard, and he did play on the interior earlier in his career.

Cannon opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, and as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, the soon-to-be 33-year-old had yet to return to New England for a physical examination/workout. Obviously, the Texans are not overly concerned about Cannon’s health at this point, and though their new acquisition showed signs of decline in 2018-19, a move back to guard could help his performance.

This is the second trade the Texans have swung today, following this morning’s deal that will send inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney to Miami in exchange for edge defender Shaq Lawson. And according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.com (via Twitter), LB Whitney Mercilus might also be on his way out of Houston.

Patriots’ Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon To Return

The Patriots are getting three of their key players back for 2021. After opting out of the 2020 season, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon all plan to retake the field in 2021, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets

Hightower, 31 in March, was slated to make $8MM in base salary last year in what would have been his walk year. Instead, his contract tolled, tying him to the Pats through 2021. His deal isn’t necessarily cheap, but Hightower is one of the better on-ball linebackers in the NFL. Even with the numbers crunch, the Pats are expected to keep him.

And, besides, releasing Hightower would save only $9.95MM, and it wouldn’t be easy to replace his production. The same goes for Chung. Cutting him would save just $1MM on the books and he could still have a role on defense alongside the likes of Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips.

Cannon, meanwhile, isn’t guaranteed to remain on the roster between now and September. The Patriots could pocket $7MM by cutting him and sticking with Michael Onwenu at right tackle. Cannon has impressed in the past, but he showed signs of decline in 2018 and 2019. Alternatively, the Patriots could keep Cannon as their RT and slot Onwenu at left guard, provided that Cannon is willing to take a pay cut.

Patriots Notes: Hightower, Chung, Cannon

The Patriots had eight players opt out of the 2020 campaign, the most in the NFL. The organization will naturally welcome back a handful of these players, but Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes that others may have already played their final game in a Patriots uniform.

For keepers, Dont’a Hightower seems like a guarantee to come back. Besides the two-time Pro Bowler’s on-field production, the Patriots would save only $9.95MM by releasing the 30-year-old; the organization wouldn’t be able to sign a player of Hightower’s caliber with that kind of money. It’s a similar sentiment for safety Patrick Chung. The team would only save $1MM by cutting the veteran, and Chung could still have a role on defense alongside the likes of Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips.

As for lesser names, Howe opines that running back/special teams ace Brandon Bolden will likely be back in 2021. The team would save $1.5MM by cutting the 31-year-old, but the organization clearly values his special teams ability. Elsewhere, fullback Danny Vitale ($1.2MM savings) will compete with Jakob Johnson for the starting gig, while tight end Matt LaCosse ($1.3MM) will compete for the third tight end spot. Both of those players’ roster spots are dependent on the camp competition.

One name that could be on his way out of New England is Marcus Cannon. The team could save $7MM by cutting the veteran, who already showed signs of decline in 2018 and 2019. The organization also appears to have their long-term answer at right tackle in Michael Onwenu. On the flip side, Onwenu could also be an option at left guard, which could carve a path to a roster spot for Cannon. Either way, Howe believes the Patriots will ask Cannon to take a pay cut.

Two other names that are probably long shots to stick around: wideout Marqise Lee ($687K savings) and offensive lineman Najee Toran ($780K). Howe says Lee could stick around as a reclamation project, but the reporter is confident Toran probably won’t make the team.