Antonio Smith has gone on record with his desire to remain in Houston and to ultimately retire a Texan:
"I told them I wanted to be here and I wanted to spend the rest of my career here," Smith said. "They told me they are open to an extension."
As great as it is to hear that Antonio wants to retire a Texan, the Texans have thus far seemed content to go into the 2013 season (and not coincidentally, the final year of Antonio's contract) without extending or reworking Antonio's current deal. Smith's cap number in 2013 is an astronomical $9,500,000.00. Many of us thought it was a virtual certainty the team would approach Antonio at the outset of free agency about lessening that hit, but there hasn't been any public word on that front.
As they did after the 2011 season, the Texans have been forced to make some tough financial decisions this offseason. In short order, Brian Cushing is due a new deal, and it won't be cheap. Should he continue on his current trajectory, J.J. Watt is a stone-cold lock to become the highest paid defensive player in NFL history if he wants to be. The Texans know this, and it follows that at least some part of their salary cap strategy is based around freeing up dollars to keep those two guys. Reacquiring $9.5 million cap dollars via the expiration of Antonio Smith's existing contract could easily be part of the team's master plan.
That's not to say I hope Antonio Smith's wish of retiring a Texan fails to materialize. Smith has been outstanding in Wade Phillips' defense, and I have no doubt he has a few productive years left. I hope Antonio and the team figure out a way to make the marriage work past this season. But I think if it was going to happen, it would have already happened.
What say you, BRB? Think the Texans will figure out a way to keep the Ninja Assassin at Reliant Park past 2013?