As you know, the Texans have a lot of cap space. As you also know, they didn’t do much with it this offseason. Now with training camp about to start up, Houston options to use it and can answer two questions the team has right now.
The first is Duane Brown’s holdout. The second is DeAndre Hopkins playing the last year of his rookie deal. Aaron Wilson reported on both of these topics in an article for the Houston Chronicle, an article you should read all of if you get the chance.
This is what Wilson wrote regarding Duane Brown’s training camp status:
The impasse between the Texans and their three-time Pro Bowl left tackle hasn't been resolved. Barring a change, he's not expected to report for the start of camp.
Brown skipped the entire offseason due to unhappiness about a contract that has two remaining years, including a non-guaranteed base salary of $9.65 million this season.
He's subject to fines of $40,000 for each day of camp that he holds out.
Among all left tackles, Brown ranks 11th in cash compensation this year. He's playing under a six-year, $53.4 million contract that includes $22.081 million guaranteed with a $12.5 million signing bonus. The deal has become outdated with time as new tackle deals have surpassed those numbers.
Brown's potential leverage stems from the Texans' lack of an adequate replacement at left tackle.
Brown, 31, has remained in Los Angeles for most of the offseason. It's unclear if a compromise will be reached during camp. There's been no talk of negotiations as the Texans have an unofficial policy to not renegotiate deals with two years left with the only exceptions being for J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson. At this point, Brown isn't expected to miss regular-season games.
Like Wilson writes, Brown has leverage. Houston has zero tackle depth and employs (1) a quarterback who’s speed challenged and held onto the ball for long periods of time and (2) a rookie quarterback. Even though Brown has bargaining power and should be paid more considering his play and importance to the team, it seems like Brown will play under his current deal this year and try to work out an Andrew Whitworth type of extension next offseason.
This is what Wilson wrote regarding DeAndre Hopkins’s potential extension:
The Texans and their Pro Bowl wide receiver are highly motivated to strike a long-term deal.
Yet it's been quiet on the negotiating front as the Texans enter camp.
Finding an appropriate value for Hopkins, who's due a $7.915 million base salary this season after the Texans exercised a fifth-year club option last year, is a matter of figuring out where he fits in the salary pecking order for elite receivers.
The biggest offseason deal for a receiver was signed by Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown received a four-year, $68 million deal that included a $19 million signing bonus for an average annual salary of $17 million.
Other recent benchmarks-comps for the Texans and Hopkins' representation to work off of include the following deals: Falcons' Julio Jones (five years, $71.256 million, $12 million signing bonus, $47 million guaranteed), the Cowboys' Dez Bryant (five years, $70 million, $20 million signing bonus, $45 million guaranteed) and the Broncos' Demaryius Thomas (five years, $70 million, $11 million signing bonus, $43.5 million guaranteed).
Unlike last year, when Hopkins staged a one-day holdout, there's been no acrimony and he's expected to report on time.
Unlike Brown, Hopkins more than likely will sign a new contract. It should be like Antonio Brown’s, just for a lesser amount. I’m expecting that it gets done before the regular season begins.