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Monday, March 10, 2014
Earl Mitchell moving on from the Texans

By Tania Ganguli

Nose tackle Earl Mitchell won't be returning to the Houston Texans.

The Houston native, one of the top defensive tackles on the market, has options that have priced him out of the Texans' range, according to a source. The Dolphins, Chargers, Buccaneers, Seahawks, Bears and Cowboys have all expressed interest.

Mitchell was drafted by the Texans in 2010 and became a starter in 2013, replacing Shaun Cody as the Texans nose tackle. He played better than Cody in relief at times, but bided his time until he became a full-time starter in 2013. Mitchell's quickness and athleticism are assets that set him apart from other nose tackles.

He wasn't used as much in Wade Phillips' defense as he might have been on a defense that ran a 4-3 base. And Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell's system generally uses stouter nose tackles, so the fit might be better for Mitchell somewhere else. But the main issue was money. Houston's salary cap situation, though better than last season, is still constraining.

While the Texans are in a better financial position, so are a lot of other teams. There's more money this year and Mitchell will benefit from that.