One of the feel good stories from the 2021 NFL season was Tytus Howard’s emergence as a starting caliber left tackle. It was the best he had looked as a run blocker, and he continuously was able to control and limit pass rushers coming after Davis Mills’s blindside. After being drafted in 2019, forced to play right guard, right tackle, left guard, and finally, after three position changes and three years, Howard was able to play his natural position of left tackle.
The Texans didn’t want to start Howard at this position. After Marcus Cannon’s injury Charlie Heck was the one to move to right tackle. It wasn’t until Laremy Tunsil tore ligaments in his thumb, that Howard was able to move to the left tackle position. Tunsil turned a four week rehabilitation process into a year long speculation. After watching Howard pass protect 90% as well as Tunsil, on a cheaper contract, and run block just as well, it was expected, and it was the correct decision to trade Tunsil this offseason, and move Howard to left tackle full time.
The right decision is often the wrong decision for the Texans. Instead of trying to snag a 2023 first round pick, or a late 2022 first round selection, the Texans have opted to restructure Tunsil’s contract once again.
Texans restructured Laremy Tunsil deal, converting $17.85 million salary to $16.815 million bonus with $1.035 million as his new salary, cap figure down to $17.7 million from $26.1 million in 2022, per a league source. His 2023 salary of $18.5 million is unchanged @PFN365— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 15, 2022
Houston turned his salary into a guaranteed bonus to lower his cap hit for 2022. Rather than paying $26 million against the cap, the Texans will pay $17 million instead. Next season, Tunsil will have a cap hit of $35 million, meaning Houston will have to extend him to a long term contract to keep him on the roster in 2022, or eat $16 million in dead money to move him. The time to trade him was this year, instead the Texans lost a chance to continue the rebuild. At least Tunsil is happy.
Hopefully Houston plays Howard at right tackle at least, as they are set to bring back a nearly identical offensive line in 2022, with an offensive line coach who couldn’t find competency in Jacksonville. Tunsil is going to be in Houston for at least another year. The Laremy Tuncels find solace in this victory.