The Houston Texans cut punting legend Shane Lechler in order to keep Trevor Daniel as their punter. Here’s why this signals a new era for the Texans.
The Oakland Raiders drafted Shane Lechler in the 5th round of the 2000 draft out of Texas A&M. He played thirteen years in Oakland before they released him. The Houston Texans then brought him close to home and he has been the team’s punter for the past six seasons.
Lechler has been a phenomenal punter for 19 seasons in the NFL and he very well may be a Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done. However, he found himself locked in a true position battle with Trevor Daniel, a rookie out of Tennessee.
Lechler had all the background, and recent success, to win the job. For his career, he’s averaged 47.6 yards per punt. He’s also made seven Pro-Bowls while being selected to six All-Pro teams, however, he hasn’t made either since 2011.
In 2017, he beat his career average with 49 yards a punt. He also collected the most punting yards in the league last year. Which, isn’t a great sign for the rest of the team but, when your offense is that bad it’s nice to have a good punter.
However, that did not stop Brian Gaine and the Houston Texans from bringing in some competition for the 42-year-old. This isn’t new for the Texans as the team has brought in young guys to spell Lechler during the preseason. However, this time became different as Daniel came in legs swinging. Daniel credits a lot of that to Lechler
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Daniel consistently outperformed Lechler in preseason games and in practice. He was more consistent than Lechler as well. Daniel just looked like the better guy for the job.
The move will also save the Houston Texans some money. Lechler was due $1.4 million over the rest of the season (he had already received $600,000). Daniel signed a three-year deal right after the draft worth $1.72 over the duration of the deal. But, more than money, this move marks the start of a new era for the Houston Texans.
In the past, Rick Smith placed a lot of value on a player’s legacy and their history as a player. The problem that we ended up seeing a lot with Smith is he would hold on to guys for what they’ve done for the team instead of they will do for the team. It’s a very nice, genuine notion but, won’t always cut it in the NFL.
This is now one of many things that Gaine has shifted from the previous regime. He’s proven that he’ll do what it takes to improve the team and go out and spend money and convince free agents to come to Houston. Now, he’s valuing current and future performance over previous performance.
It’s going to hurt not seeing Lechler in a Houston Texans uniform anymore but, now is the time to say goodbye to one of the most legendary punter of this era. The Trevor Daniel era at punter has now begun.