Duke Johnson's time in Houston is finished.
The Texans have released the running back, saving them $5 million in cap space. The club shed more money Friday by also releasing center Nick Martin, who carried an $8.75 million hit. The moves brought Houston to about the $20 million mark with the cap projected near the stated floor of $180 million, per Over The Cap.
Johnson had the less productive of his two seasons in Houston in 2020, carrying the ball 77 times for 235 yards and one touchdown in 11 games (five starts) as part of a woeful Texans running game. The versatile back also caught a career-low 28 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown, bringing his all-purpose yards total to a mere 484 on the season.
As was the case during Johnson's time in Cleveland, some wondered why he didn't receive more touches in Houston's offense. David Johnson's presence was one answer, but after two campaigns in Texas, we can come to the conclusion that Houston's trade for Johnson in the summer of 2019 produced a flop.
Johnson still carries value as a multitalented back who could flourish in the right situation. It became painfully clear in 2020 that situation was not in Houston, despite playing with one of the game's best young passers in Deshaun Watson.
Martin, meanwhile, started 62 games over the past four seasons after the Texans selected him in the second round of the 2016 draft.