Duane Brown did not play in Week 1 of the NFL season, but he nonetheless looks like a winner.
Brown, a 32-year-old offensive tackle, hasn’t reported to the Houston Texans throughout training camp and preseason, and in Week 1, it looked like the Texans needed him.
The Texans were demolished by the Jacksonville Jaguars, 29-7, on Sunday, surrendering 10 sacks and 13 total QB hits.
The meager offensive line was partly to blame as the Texans ended up benching starting quarterback Tom Savage after just two quarters and no points. Savage was benched for rookie Deshaun Watson, much to the crowd’s delight.
Watson, however, only fared somewhat better than Savage. Watson went just 12-of-23 for 102 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked four times and, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, was seen walking with a limp after the game.
All of which makes Brown’s holdout look more justified. Brown is scheduled to make $US9.5 million this season, but has a de-escalator in his deal for missing workouts. According to FanRag’s John McCullen, Brown doesn’t have any guarantees on his deal going forward until he’s made the roster. At 32, he wants guarantees that he’s in the Texans’ plans.
During the preseason, Texans GM Rick Smith said of Brown’s holdout: “Duane’s under contract for two more years. That’s our position. He’s an important member of our team, and he ought to be here.”
Brown has said he plans to play football this year but must look out for his best interest.
Holdouts don’t have a long history of working out for players. Last season, Kam Chancellor reported to the Seattle Seahawks after two weeks; this year, Le’Veon Bell took his franchise tag and reported after preseason and Aaron Donald ended his holdout with the Los Angeles Rams, though he missed Week 1.
However, after the Texans struggled so badly against a Jaguars team that few expected to look dominant, Brown may be in a position of power. The Texans already face an uncertain quarterback situation, and if their offensive line continues to get exploited, they risk getting both Savage and Watson hurt.
Several offensive lineman signed big deals this offseason to join the NFL’s highest-paid players — Brown looks like he might be next in line.
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