Texans release 2016 first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves after midseason signing in 2019

Former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves will again be looking for a new NFL home, as the cornerback had been released by the Houston Texans, the team announced on Friday. The former University of Florida star was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the No. 11 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but things went downhill in 2019.

Hargreaves was named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team in 2016 after he recorded 76 combined tackles, nine passes defensed and one interception in 16 games played, but injuries landed him on injured reserve the following two seasons. He played in nine games for the Buccaneers in 2019, recording 40 combined tackles, four passes defensed and one pick-six, but was released after Tampa Bay’s Week 10 win over the Arizona Cardinals. 

Early last offseason, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians held Hargreaves out of practice because he believed the corner was not prepared, and then reprimanded Hargreaves again in Week 10 against the Cardinals. Arians told reporters it didn’t look like he hustled to make a tackle.

Hargreaves didn’t refute Arians’ claim, per NFL.com, saying after the game “there’s no arguing it” and promising more hustle, as well as having a meeting with Arians to straighten things out. Evidently, things weren’t straightened out.

The Texans claimed Hargreaves off waivers the very next day, and he ended up recording 21 combined tackles and two passes defensed in six games for Bill O’Brien. He also started Houston’s two playoff games, and recorded nine combined tackles and one pass defensed. 

With the release, the Texans avoid paying Hargreaves’ $10 million fifth-year option in 2020. If O’Brien was happy with his play over the second half of the season, it’s possible the corner could find himself back in Houston on a more team-friendly deal.

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