Per PFT (via Arian's agent on Twitter, who might have heard from this guy who knows this kid . . .) the Houston Texans have signed the Best Running Back In The NFL ™ to a five-year contract.
After disappointing seasons from big-money running backs last year, NFL teams are generally expected to be hesitant to sign running backs to long-term deals this year. But the 25-year-old Foster and the Texans have found common ground on a contract that will keep him in the fold until he’s 30.
While the terms of the deal are not yet known, the immediate upside to the timing of the agreement --- in addition to putting minds at ease --- is that the Texans will not have to use the franchise tag on Foster. The deadline for slapping a franchise tag on someone is 3pm today.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to sing "Happy Happy Joy Joy" and dance around my office for a bit.
UPDATE: TexansDC points me in the direction of Jason LaCanfora's Twitter, wherein it was reported that Foster's deal is $43.5M over 5 years, $20.75M guaranteed, with $30m due in the first three of the deal, including $18M in 2012.
That sound you just heard? That was the door closing on re-signing Mario Williams.
UPDATE 2: A little back o' the envelope math suggests that $6.925M is about the smallest cap hit that the contract could have in 2012. With $20.75M guaranteed, that would be $4.125M/year amortized. To get to $18M paid in 2012, you'd need a $14M signing bonus, working out to $2.8M/year over the 5 years.
Taking that a step further, $30M over the first three likely means closer to $6M in each of the next two seasons (nearly $9M cap hit each) or 2013 structured a lot like 2012 (roughly $7M cap hit) and 2014 with around $8M in base salary (roughly $11M cap hit).
Point being, I don't think this contract improves the odds of signing Mario by any stretch, but I might have been the slightest bit hasty in saying that the door was completely closed if the the 2012 hit really is less than $7M.