Over The Cap's Jason Fitzgerald is starting the site's annual look at each team's best and worst contract with a post on your Houston Texans; you can (and should) read his analysis here. In the interest of whetting your appetite and generating conversation in the Comments here, I leave you with Fitzgerald's answer to who has the best and worst contract on the current Texans' roster, as well as a brief excerpt of his reasoning on each of those contracts.
BEST CONTRACT: ANDRE JOHNSON
The constant restructuring of Johnson’s contract make his deal hard to fathom as a good one (he has a $15.6 million cap hit in 2014), but there is no reason to move him from this spot this year. I’ve written about Johnson extensively on the site and it’s one of the most team friendly series of contracts for a superstar player in the history of the NFL.
Since that initial contract Johnson has been named to five Pro Bowls, two All Pro teams and produced at least 1,400 yards in four of the last six seasons, many of which were spent catching passes from quarterbacks who were not exactly top of the NFL caliber players. He’s done all of this while playing somewhere in the ballpark of $6 million less a season than Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, who has never approached the top end statistical seasons that Johnson has.
WORST CONTRACT: ARIAN FOSTER
Foster is a fine player whose agents negotiated an incredible deal despite not having much leverage at the time of signing. Foster is one of the great undrafted success stories, coming out of nowhere to become one of the most productive running backs in the NFL, but it’s a position a decreasing importance and one where teams are very hesitant to invest big money due the steep decline often seen by players. Foster went into the 2012 offseason as a Restricted Free Agent, meaning the Texans controlled his rights for pennies. Often teams use that to their advantage to negotiate favorable terms with a player, but that was not the case here.
Seemingly using the framework of the DeAngelo Williams contract in Carolina, Foster received a whopping $20.75 million in fully guaranteed salary and $30 million in cash over the first three years of his contract. Foster received a huge $12.5 million signing bonus which virtually assured him of earning his money in the third season of the contract since his release would cost the team $7.5 million against the salary cap. It was a well crafted deal to ensure protection for Foster.
Foster would go on to have a very good 2012 season in which he ran for 1,400 yards but on his lowest yards per carry (4.1) number of his career and his yards from scrimmage declined for the second straight season. The Texans ran him into the ground with 351 carries, a bright move if the player was a RFA you had no interest in keeping but not the brightest move for a team that just committed $30 million over the next three years. Foster broke down in 2013 with a bad back and missed half the season.
Your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Expound on your feelings below.