"Johnathan has been a consummate professional, team captain and one of the leaders of our defense for the past nine years," the team said in a statement. "It is rare for a player to sustain such a high level of play for over a decade and that says so much about him and his dedication to the game. He is an exceptional teammate, mentor, husband and father. His impact on and off the field makes him quite possibly the most celebrated free-agent signing in franchise history. The entire Houston Texans organization thanks Johnathan for the contributions he made to our team and the Houston community. We wish him and his family all the best as he pursues free agency."
Joseph spent his first five seasons in Cincinnati after being drafted with the No. 24 overall pick in 2006. He headed to Houston on a big-money deal in 2011 and has been a stalwart on the back end since.
The announcement that Joseph will enter free agency subliminally suggests the corner could return if he doesn't find what he's looking for from the market. However, the tenor of the team's statement suggests Houston is moving on from a player turning 36 years old next month.
Joseph said after the season he plans to continue playing.
Despite hitting an age where most CBs fall off a cliff, Joseph could still be productive in the right system. The veteran compiled 13 passes defended and one interception to go along with 51 tackles in 14 games in 2019.
For the Texans, who are in need of upgrades in the secondary, letting Joseph hit the free-agent market signals an intent to chase younger corners this offseason.