Texans to release Arian Foster after seven seasons: 5 things to know

Despite a bump up in the salary cap, the Texans are planning to cut longtime running back Arian Foster, according to reports.

Foster carries a $8.925 million cap number for 2016 and is coming off a brutal Achilles' injury, making him expendable for Houston.

Foster's agent Mike McCarthy tweeted Foster's time is up, ending his seven-year run with Houston.

Here are five things to know:

1. Cap savings: The cap got cranked up to $155 million for this offseason but as of this morning, Houston had just $1.637 million in cap space available to them. Cutting Foster (regardless of timing) gives the Texans an additional $6.625 million in cap space. 

GM Rick Smith spoke in vagueries at the combine about having room to operate and keep Foster on the roster. 

"I think we’re in a position that I don’t know that any player is prohibited. We try to write our contracts in such a way that when we get to the end of contracts, we don’t necessarily have to move players," Smith said. "That’s one of the things that we’ve been doing over the last few years to position ourselves salary cap-wise to be in a place where moving forward we can always have flexibility. Part of that is the way that we write contracts."

Not sure why anyone interpreted those quotes as anything other than "yes he's done" but now it appears Foster is in fact done in Houston.

2. Incredible story: Foster's not going to collect on the final year of a $43 million contract he signed in March of 2012. But he made a whole lot of cash for a guy who wasn't even drafted. Foster was undrafted out of Tennessee in 2009 and eventually latched on in Houston.

He didn't do much his rookie season, but absolutely exploded in Gary Kubiak's zone-running scheme his second year, coming out of nowhere to rush for a league-leading 1,616 yards. Over the next three seasons, Foster would average 1,421 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns per season. He was a dynamic, explosive running back and the Texans' workhorse. 

Foster should serve as the inspiration for any NFL player who is told they won't ever succeed when they aren't drafted. 

Arian Foster was told he'll be released by the Texans. (USATSI)

3. Texans have a hole: Go ahead and start plugging those mock drafts with a running back in the first round for Houston. Pick your poison on Derrick Henry or Ezekiel Elliott -- Houston clearly needs help in the backfield. With Foster out, it comes down to Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes, and Akeem Hunt. (Chris Polk is listed on their depth chart but he's a free agent.)

You will hear coach speak about "next man up" and Bill O'Brien will probably detail how comfortable they are with their current players but the reality is with no real quarterback (sorry, Brian Hoyer) and no real clear-cut talent at running back there is a serious hole to fill. 

4. Possible fits: The easy choice in terms of a landing spot for Foster is Denver. Ronnie Hillman is a free agent and C.J. Anderson looked great in the Super Bowl, but who's had more success under Kubiak than Foster? He'll turn 30 before the season, has more than 1,500 career carries and has dealt with injuries the last few years so there won't be a ton of teams knocking down his door. But Denver makes sense on a low-cost deal with a chance 

5. Some stats: Foster is Houston's all-time leading rusher with 6,472 rushing yards but he's only 72nd all-time in NFL history, pretty far behind guys like LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles. Even more context: he's only six spots on the all-time list ahead of Ray Rice (6,180 yards) and only eight spots ahead of Michael Vick (6,109 yards). 

Foster is eighth in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns since 2009, however.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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