Duane Brown remains a ghost in Houston.
The veteran left tackle was nowhere to be seen on Tuesday as the Texans prepared to leave for training camp in West Virginia, per NFL Network’s James Palmer. The team announced Tuesday afternoon that Brown was placed on reserve/did not report list.
Making it clear he isn’t happy with his contract, Brown has skipped the entire offseason program. His absence triggered a de-escalator clause that cut his salary for 2017 from $9.65 million to $9.4 million. Set to make another $9.75 million in 2018, the 31-year-old bookend was expected to stage a holdout.
Despite Brown’s absence, general manager Rick Smith said Tuesday that the Texans are not making a new deal with the tackle, and expect him to show up to camp.
“There’s no contract dispute,” Smith said. “Duane’s under contract for two more years. That’s our position. We’re here to get our football team ready for the season, and he should be a part of it. … Here’s an important member of our team, and he ought to be here.”
After nine seasons in Houston, Brown finished last year as the 17th-ranked tackle league-wide, per Pro Football Focus. As the team’s most valuable lineman, the bookend is likely seeking security in the form of more guaranteed cash.
With Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson set to battle it out for the starting quarterback job, Brown’s importance to the Texans this preseason and beyond is unquestioned. The next move belongs to Houston’s front office.