I could groan on and on and on about the Matt Kalil signing. The Panthers paid an enormous sum of $55 million (over five years) to carry him from Minnesota to Carolina. They signed him because they were tired of having to chip and manipulate their tackles. After Cam Newton was punctured and popped in Super Bowl 50, David Gettelman vowed it couldn’t happen again. And guess what? It happened again. The Panthers still had to chip and slide. Newton was still a submarine captain, constantly playing under pressure.
Kalil offered nothing at all as a vertical run blocker. He struggled making blocks in space. He couldn’t hold his own against pass rushers. He could get beat by speed rushes. He never had the punch to control blocks or suffocate power moves.
The Panthers shed Kalil’s skin this offseason. The Texans chose to put the remnants back on. When the signing was announced, I, like everyone else, assumed this move was just for tackle depth and competition. A whatever signing. I, like everyone, else, am probably wrong.
In free agency, you have to pay what it takes to bring a player to your town, not what the player is actually worth. Yet there’s a subtext to contract terms. If a team is willing to pay X amount, they’ll only be willing to if it fills a specific need.
Kalil was given a one year, $7.5 million by your Houston Texans. From Spotrac:
This contract includes a $2.25 million signing bonus, $2.25 million guaranteed, and an annual salary of $7.5 million that is a combination of a base salary of $3.25 million, the signing bonus, and a roster bonus of $2 million.
It’s a contract the Texans can get out of as soon as training camp if Kalil is injured or if he’s truly atrocious. However, with their current tackle situation, and the Texans calling and asking if Jordan Mills is still awak, only injury should keep Kalil off the roster for in 2019. Even more troubling is that a team doesn’t give a player a $7.5 million salary for him to back up and compete for a roster spot. Backups don’t earn that much in this wild and crazy market. Houston offered Matt Kalil the salary of a starting offensive tackle.
It’s only April 1st. But as of right now, based on this contract, I’m afraid. I’m very afraid the Houston Texans are expecting Matt Kalil to be their starting left tackle in 2019.