The move leaves Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage to compete for the backup job behind Fitzpatrick.
Yates filled in as a rookie in 2011 when Matt Schaub was injured. He started the last five games of the regular season that year and led the Texans to a win in their first-ever playoff game against the Bengals. He's played sparingly in the last two seasons and had just 113 yards passing in three appearances last year.
Coach Bill O'Brien praised Yates for his work ethic and says: ''I'm sure he'll land somewhere.''