General manager Bill O’Brien dropped a bomb on the National Football League last summer. He traded Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle after Clowney refused to sign his franchise tag to play in Miami. O’Brien then traded two first round picks, a second round pick, Johnson Bademosi, and Julien Davenport, for Kenny Stills, Laremy Tunsil. a fourth round pick, and a sixth round pick. O’Brien corrected bad summer decisions about the Texans’ offensive line that would have proved disastrous in the fall.
The Tunsil trade was great last season because O’Brien gave up zero assets that affected the 2019 Houston Texans, but now the bills are starting to arrive. Even though money wasn’t a valid reason to trade DeAndre Hopkins, the second round pick that came from the Cardinals—a source of cost effective talent—was the centerpoint of the trade, not David Johnson. When you eventually pay a quarterback $37 million a year, it’s impossible to build a complete roster around him. Certain areas of the team are neglected. The core competencies of the team have to overlap with the weaknesses. Hitting in the NFL Draft is critical with less cap room available to spend in free agency and to re-sign your own players with.
Future are starting to turn into current assets. And Tunsil’s fourth year of his rookie contract is now his fifth year. His cap hit has increased from $2.1 million to $10.5 million this season. Next season, he’s free to hit unrestricted free agency and the franchise salary tag for an offensive lineman will probably be around $17 million. The days of having Tunsil on a bargain contract are nearly over.
After sinking their top draft assets into acquiring Tunsil, the Texans won’t let it get to that. They have enough cap space this season to turn Tunsil’s $10.5 million into $18 or $20 million, or whatever the highest paid left tackle in the league salary will come out to. According to Aaron Wilson, the Texans and Laremy Tunsil have started contract negotiations.
No deal is imminent or regarded as close, though, per sources.
The Texans’ initial proposal averaged roughly $18.5 million per year, and Tunsil is countering with a significantly higher offer, per sources.
Reportedly, Tunsil is looking for $20 million a year, which would be $3.5 million more than Anthony Castonzo makes and $2 million more than Lane Johnson makes. The highest paid player at the position isn’t always the best player; it’s often the last one to sign his contract.
It doesn’t sound like a contract extension for Tunsil will happen soon, but it will happen sometime this summer.
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