Sources: Texans releasing Christian Kirksey, Desmond King

The Texans are waiving veteran linebacker Christian Kirksey and starting nickel back Desmond King, according to league sources.

Kirksey had missed the entire training camp with a strained hamstring. The former starter and defensive team captain’s release saves $5.2 million by subtracting his nonguaranteed base salary. He was replaced at middle linebacker by Denzel Perryman, a former Las Vegas Raiders Pro Bowl selection, and had been shifted to outside linebacker and was no longer listed as first on the depth chart with Blake Cashman listed as the starter.

Kirksey, a Walter Payton Man of the Year candidate last year being released today, per a league source, has recovered from his leg injury. Kirksey is regarded as a classy veteran who’s active in community and will be missed in the Texans’ locker room. He had 124 tackles last season.

King is a former Tennessee Titans All-Pro selection. King, 28, was signed to a two-year, $7 million contract last year. He started 25 games over the past two seasons and was listed as first on the depth chart at nickel and also has punt return skills. He was due $3 million this season with $500,000 guaranteed.

King has nine career interceptions, including five interceptions in the past two seasons for the Texans. He has 426 tackles, 27 for losses, 8 1/2 sacks and two punt returns for touchdowns.

“With the cuts that are coming up, it’s a tough day,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said Monday. “Sensitive, it’s a delicate situation for a lot of guys. You want to tell guys to keep working, continue to dream. Hopefully, they have the opportunity to make another 53-man roster or make a practice squad. There is opportunity around the entire NFL to be able to make it.

“That’s in my message to those guys. I appreciate guys just their work ethic and how much work those guys put in for us. I don’t take that lightly. Our guys have done a great job of doing what we’ve asked them to do. They didn’t complain, they just worked. So, it’s a hard day. Over the next couple of days, it’ll be a hard few days having to let guys go because I know the work that these men have put in.”

Former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler intercepted a pass in his first game since being signed by the Texans after a successful workout. Dantzler and Ka’Dar Hollman, who started against the New Orleans Saints, are candidates for roster spots. Both are taller, athletic corners.

“It was fun to see Cam go out and make a big play for us at the end of that game,” Ryans said. “It was a fun moment for the entire team to end the game there. Cam had only been with us for a few days, so it’s encouraging to see his talent. He’s played in the league. He’s an NFL corner, so he has the ability to play in this league.”

The Texans are going to waive-injured veteran defensive tackle Roy Lopez and they are expected to ultimately negotiate an injury settlement, according to a league source. Lopez has a strained hamstring and should be ready to go in two to three weeks.

The Texans are placing veteran offensive tackle Rashaad Coward on waivers, per a league source.

Coward graded out highly on analytics sites as one of their highest rated offensive lineman during the Texans preseason games.

The Texans traded for former Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Joshua Jones last week.

Coward, 28, has started 18 of 38 career games, including three starts last season for the Cardinals. He has played tackle and guard. Coward (6-foot-5, 319 pounds) has also played for the Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons.

Coward went undrafted out of Old Dominion where he played defensive end before shifting to the offensive line in the NFL.

The Texans are also releasing rookie offensive lineman Tyler Beach, per a league source. Beach is a candidate to return as a member of the practice squad if he clears waivers.

The Texans released tight end Mason Schreck and defensive back Darius Joyner, per a league source.

The Texans are releasing veteran tight end Nick Vannett, per a league source.

Vannett, 30, has played for the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants.

Vannett, 30, is a 6-foot-6, 257-pound former Seahawks third-round pick from Ohio State. He has 90 career receptions for 874 yards and six touchdowns.

The Texans, after enduring a 3-13-1 season last year, rank second in the NFL on the waiver wire priority list behind the Chicago Bears. That gives Texans general manager Nick Caserio and Ryans the opportunity to potentially upgrade the roster by claiming players off waivers Wednesday.

“As we look at acquiring players, I think it is done in multiple ways, whether it’s the waiver wire, the draft, free agent signings, whatever it may be,” Ryans said. “However you can improve your team, that’s what we’re going to try to do. Try to find the best guys that we can find for our team, and that’s our job, to make sure we put the best team out there. We’ll try to find those guys any way possible.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans

Photo: Carmen Mandato / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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