Texans release former first-rounder Kevin Johnson

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The Houston Texans are parting ways with a former first-round defender.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Houston released corner Kevin Johnson, per a source informed of the decision. The Texans drafted Johnson with the No. 16 overall pick in 2015. Houston confirmed the news later Tuesday.

A talented corner, Johnson has struggled to stay healthy the past three seasons. He played just six games in 2016, 12 in 2017 and participated in just one tilt in 2018 before going on injured reserve after multiple concussions. Johnson has started only eight games since his rookie campaign.

Rapoport previously reported that the Texans were attempting to trade Johnson. They apparently found no takers for an injury-riddled corner with a high salary in the final year of his contract.

The 26-year-old was due to make $9.069 million in the fifth year of his rookie deal, which was guaranteed for injury only before the new league year. The release indicates Johnson is healthy heading into the open market.

In a league constantly scouring for 6-foot corners, Johnson should find work if he can remain healthy. It won't be at the $9 million salary he was in line to make, and it could be on a short-term deal with a team hoping to capitalize on a talented player coming off injury with something to prove.

Cutting Johnson underscores the uncertainty in the Texans' secondary heading into free agency. Starting corner Kareem Jackson and safety Tyrann Mathieu are set to hit the open market. Spot corner starters Kayvon Webster and Shareece Wright are also free agents.

Cornerback will be a big need for Texans GM Brian Gaine during free agency and the draft.

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