First please note, this is NOT a "lets mindlessly bash Okoye" thread Also please note, this is NOT an "I'm smarter than Rick Smith because I would have drafted Patrick Willis or Darrelle Revis" thread either The purpose of this thread is to examine Okoye's status with the Texans right now and how his situation is approached going forward. I think the Okoye discussion should start with his contract. It would help to have the specifics of it but I do know 1st round rookie contract money is always heavily backloaded and there's big bonuses on the back half. Typically a player's status is clear by their 3rd season in the league (excluding some positions like QB) which makes it easier to decide on those bonuses/cap numbers but Okoye's status is anything but clear. His age (22) certainly complicates things, as he's the same age or younger than some of the DT prospects coming out in the draft this year. His tape from year-to-year looks like a different player almost. His rookie year he was surprisingly solid, his second year was surprisingly lackluster and his third year wasn't noteworthy excluding a few stretches of play where he looked like he did his rookie year. There's going to come a point (as with all NFL players) where his contract will dictate the direction the Texans go as far as his future here. His snaps were reduced pretty significantly towards the end of the season to the point where he wasn't seen on 1st and 2nd down and when he was on the field he didn't look comfortable in his role. There was no clear explanation from the coaches as to why this was, but we can infer that it was tied to poor performance. So what was said to Okoye in his exit interview? Was he told that he'll see more of the same (limited) playing time if he continues to underperform? Was he even told that he is in fact underperforming? Was he told that next year is the final year to prove himself as a player in the NFL? My opinion on Okoye is that while he's still unproven and is underperforming, there are skills/tools in his repertoire that can help this team and he is a fit on our interior defensive line when he is right and is penetrating into the backfield. The problem is this does not happen nearly enough, and sooner (training camp 2010) or later (2011 offseason) a tough decision will have to be made to trade/release him if the money doesn't equal the results on the field.