One important, yet highly-overlooked position on every NFL roster is the swing tackle. Rashad Butler fills this role for the Texans, and proved valuable when he stepped in for starting LT Duane Brown last season after Brown was popped for PEDs.
Butler filled in admirably (not spectacularly) for Brown during his four-game suspension, and he figures to cash in on that performance if/when free agency begins. You can't blame him for wanting to 1) get as much money as he can, and 2) perhaps earn the chance to start elsewhere.
The Texans did slap a third-round restricted free agent tender on Butler before the lockout came down, but in all likelihood that will be rendered meaningless when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached. Unless something unexpected happens, Butler will be an unrestricted free agent once things are "back to normal."
It wouldn't be anything resembling a crushing blow to the team, but unfortunately Butler seems pretty dead-set on getting out of town. Check out this exchange between Butler and Brian Cushing via Twitter:
@briancushing56 CAMP? Depending on the new CBA ur boy might be an unrestricted free agent and u know what that means OPPOSING TEAM!!!
You may think I'm reading too much into this, but being a follower of Butler since he joined Twitter, I can assure you this is typical. I don't hold it against him, in fact, that kind of public honesty from a player is refreshing. In Butler's perfect world, he would join the Miami Dolphins as their starting LT, and women would line up to "congratulate" him. He could then go on a Twitter-tirade about how fake they all are, and how they're gold-diggers. I could link you to examples of that, but there are too many. It would cripple the Internet.
In his own mind, Rashad Butler is a superstar. Photo shoots, his own clothing line, lavish parties - all part of the @RB2Cool experience. Again - can't fault him for that. "That kid's got a lot of confidence," as his head coach would say.
Looking over the roster, I don't see a guy who I think coach Kubiak would have that same level of confidence in as a replacement. I'd expect the Texans to look at a veteran free agent to fill this void once Butler is gone. There is always the draft, but the smart money is on a new wide receiver if the Texans are going to draft an offensive player. (You may insert your own tight end joke here.)