Manning's release follows 2014 frugality

Today's news became inevitable on Friday when the Texans signed safety Chris Clemons on a two-year deal worth $2.7 million. That number was about what they had asked safety Danieal Manning to reduce his pay to for the 2014 season -- the last of a four-year contract he signed in 2011 to help the Texans wade out of the NFL's defensive cellar.

Now the Texans have released Manning, as our Adam Schefter first reported.

Manning and cornerback Johnathan Joseph were added to the defensive backfield that year and those moves, along with the addition of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, boosted their last-place pass defense to third in 2011.

Manning was versatile on the field and a mentor off it, but his time was up with the Texans. The Texans consider age and injury history when deciding how much cash and cap space they can dedicate to a player. Manning's $6 million cap number and $4.5 million salary were more than they were willing to take for the safety who turns 32 this year.

They asked him to take a pay cut. He said no. So they moved on as they have with many more players this offseason. There will be at least four new starters on the defense and a quarterback who didn't begin last season as the Texans' starter.

The move saves the Texans $4.5 million in cap space, adding to a number that's growing bit by bit. At one point this offseason, the Texans had only about $4 million in cap space. Now they'll have more than $13 million.