INDIANAPOLIS -- Arian Foster's salary will not impact the Texans' plans for him, Texans general manager Rick Smith said Thursday.
"His salary is not a reason why we will cut Arian," Smith said.
Foster, 29, is due a $6.5 million base salary with a salary-cap number of nearly $9 million for the 2016 season. By releasing him, the Texans could save around $6.6 million, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Many have assumed that the high price of keeping Foster as he ages and begins to suffer more injuries would force the Texans to act on his salary. The Texans, though, will have some cap flexibility. They are expected to have around $32 million in cap space before making any moves once the 2016 salary cap is set.
"I just sung Chris Olsen's praises on how he is managing our salary cap," Smith said. Olsen is the Texans' vice president of football administration. "I think we're in a position where I don't know that any player is prohibitive."
Foster has been the Texans' starting running back since 2010 after joining the team as an undrafted free agent. He became the league's leading rusher in 2010 with 1,616 yards rushing. He has had three 1,000-yard seasons since then. Since 2010, Foster leads the NFL in carries per game.
Injuries have taken a toll on Foster lately. The last time he played in all 16 games was in 2012. During the 2015 season, he missed games due to two injuries that required surgery -- a torn groin he suffered during the Texans' first padded training camp practice in August. Foster returned to play in four games, but then tore his Achilles tendon during the last five minutes of the Texans' 44-26 loss to the Miami Dolphins. He had his second surgery of the season and missed the rest of the year. Smith said he and Foster met recently and Foster was "very, very motivated."
"One of the things I was so disappointed for him for last year is he worked, he probably had his best offseason last year," Smith said. "To see the injuries occur last year was disappointing, only because I knew how hard he worked. He's right back at that, he's got the right mindset. ... He'll bounce back, he'll be fine."