Trevor Daniel

Texans Release Punter Shane Lechler

The Texans have cut Shane Lechler, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). With Lechler out of the picture, they’ll roll with rookie Trevor Daniel as their punter.

Lechler didn’t necessarily struggle during the preseason, but Daniel was outstanding. No one thought the University of Tennessee product had a real chance at unseating Lechler, but the Texans went with the untested option, even though they’re still on the hook for Lechler’s $600K guarantee.

After spending the first 13 years of his career with the Raiders, Lechler joined up with the Texans in 2013, and he hasn’t missed a game during his tenure in Houston. Last year, Lechler led the league in punting yards with 4,507 and put his boot to the ball 92 times. The veteran is first all-time in yards per punt, and he’s second all-time in punts and punting yards.

Given his experience, reputation, accomplishments, and holding ability, it would be surprising if Lechler does not find a job elsewhere.

Shane Lechler Fighting For Roster Spot?

Shane Lechler may be a future Hall of Famer, but the veteran is currently fighting for a roster spot. As John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes, the 42-year-old is competing with Trevor Daniel for the Texans’ punter gig. While Lechler hasn’t necessarily struggled during the preseason, his rookie competitor has been “outstanding.”

Lechler re-signed with Houston this offseason on a one-year, $2MM deal. The team brought in Daniel, an undrafted rookie out of the University of
Tennessee, shortly after the draft. While the competition was initially an afterthought, the rookie’s recent play has put Lechler’s roster spot in jeopardy. Through two preseason games, Daniel’s gross averages have been 42 and 55.3 yards (Lechler’s have been 45.7 and 37 yards).

Bill (O’Brien) wants competition at every position, and I had to come in and be ready to go,” Lechler told McClain. “There are only 32 of us who have this job, and they’re always looking to replace and go younger or go cheaper – whatever it is.”

While Daniel may have the upperhand when it comes to punting, Lechler has managed to contribute in other aspects of the game. As McClain writes, the veteran is considered an excellent holder, while Daniel never held when he was in college. Lechler also has the respect of his coaches and teammates, something that a rookie couldn’t reasonably overcome.

After spending the first 13 years of his career with the Raiders, Lechler joined up with the Texans in 2013, and he hasn’t missed a game during his tenure in Houston. Last year, Lechler led the league in punting yards with 4,507 and put his boot to the ball 92 times. The veteran is first all-time in yards per punt, and he’s second all-time in punts and punting yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Add 13 UDFAs

The Texans are the latest team to unveil their post-draft free agent haul. Here’s their 13-man contingent:

Malone is the son of NBA legend Karl Malone. The 6-foot-4 K.J. Malone played left tackle at LSU but will evidently be tried at guard initially as a pro. The Texans are listing Coyle as a guard as well despite the Fordham-honed prospect playing tackle in college.

Houston re-signed Shane Lechler, so it’s unlikely, barring something extraordinary, Daniel has a path to the 53-man roster. Coleman and Swanson will battle for a role behind Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman. The Texans did not draft a running back, but they re-signed Alfred Blue this offseason and have Troymaine Pope and Tyler Ervin on their 90-man roster.

Interestingly, the only Division II player in this group will collect the most bonus money. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter link) Smith signed for a $35K — comprised of a $10K signing bonus and a $25K base salary guarantee. Jones-Smith will collect $22K ($10K signing bonus, $12K base guarantee), and Swanson will earn $21K guaranteed ($15K guaranteed base and $6K signing bonus), per Wilson (Twitter links).