Yesterday, I wrote about a subject near and dear to my heart: the Texan’s trade for Laremy Tunsil. I felt it was bad in the summer of 2019 and now, in the fall of 2020, the reasons why I felt it was bad have already reared their head. Tunsil didn’t solve Houston’s pass protection and run blocking problems.
The Texans went all in on a team with a terrible pass defense and bland offensive scheme that held them back in 2019. The Texans are 2-7. They have given up two top 40 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, and the dam has busted. Houston has to retool its skill position group and rebuild its entire defense, all while now paying their quarterback what franchise quarterbacks are worth. Tunsil has ensured that Yannick Ngakoue or Frank Clark doesn’t ruin Houston’s offensive game plan so Houston can score 22.2 points a game. No left tackle is worth two first round picks and a second round pick.
These are my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Yet that isn’t enough. I wanted to know what my fellow brethren here at Battle Red Blog thought about the Laremy Tunsil trade. These are their thoughts:
The Laremy Tunsil trade. The more I hear that trade, the more I think of another name from the past: Herschel Walker. You remember him. Think 1989. The first year of the Cowboys under new ownership and a new coach. That team, uh, sucks something awful. The best player on that dumpster fire of a team is Herschel Walker. Then Minnesota comes calling. At the time, the Vikings were two seasons removed from an NFC Championship appearance. They possess a formidable defense and fancied themselves legit Super Bowl contenders. They figured they just needed one more weapon to put them over the top. Jimmy Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys decided that perhaps they could make something out of the dumpster fire of a season and roster. The two teams talk.
Thus, you have the infamous trade that send Hershel Walker to Minnesota for a bunch of players turned into draft picks. Dallas goes on to win three Super Bowls in a four year span. The Vikings with Walker and their nightmare pass rush made the NFL Playoffs in 1989, only to run into the buzzsaw that was the San Francisco 49ers, and falling 41-13. History may not repeat, but it can rhyme. I am seeing some very close rhyming between those Vikings and the Texans.
I get the need for a left tackle, given how much of a disaster area the Texans’ offensive line was. It was logical that the Texans did not Watson to suffer the fate of Andrew Luck. However, what the Texans gained in a quality LT they lost in future flexibility. Like the 1989 Vikings, the 2019 Texans possessed some legit weapons and went 10-6. Like the 1989 Vikings, they ran into a slaughter on the road against the eventual Super Bowl champions, only the site of the massacre was Kansas City (51-31). While those Vikings remained somewhat competitive moving forward, the Texans’ all-in effort went a hard bust. The team is staring down the barrel of multiple bad seasons, even with Watson and Tunsil. Bill O’Brien paid for his incompetence as a GM with his job, but the fallout will outlast his tenure.
As for Miami, while it is premature to call them the next dynasty, they are setting themselves up very nicely to become a future NFL power. They sit at 6-3, a legit playoff contender, with a future franchise QB on a rookie contract and armed with some very (unexpectedly) high draft picks. If they play their cards right—and so far, a number of their recent draft picks have panned out—they could return to heights not seen since the Don Shula days.
In a vacuum, the Tunsil trade is not horrible. Given the subsequent moves made by the Texans in trades, draft picks, and free agency, however, that trade signaled the start of the downfall of the Texans as we know them. Especially if the Dolphins can emerge to win a Super Bowl or two in the next few years, history will equate the Walker and Tunsil trades for years to come.
I’ll be honest in that I really didn’t know how to feel about the Tunsil trade when it happened. It was great getting a true, franchise LT (!), but, wow, at what cost?
It would have been one thing if the Tunsil trade got us a Super Bowl victory. After all, flags fly forever. But it didn’t.
In fact, this trade didn’t need to happen at all for a number of reasons. Trading Duane Brown was stupid. Not scheming your offense for Lamar Miller and Deshaun Watson’s skill sets was stupid. Honestly, it’s quite easy to say that almost everything the Texans have done since the Duane Brown trade was stupid football.
For the Texans, it’s been all downhill since Duane Brown was traded. Once Uncle Bob uppity tagged Brown, it was written in stone. It’s fitting that the catalyst for years of suck was the Brown trade.
So here we are. We have a team comprised of exactly three, young, above average players: Watson, Tunsil, and Justin Reid. That ain’t going to win many games in today’s NFL.
If you think that the trade is still good, tell me how you feel after watching more elite talent come off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft before the Texans even have a chance to pick.
Getting Laremy Tunsil was a great thing, no matter how you spin it, when viewing just the aspect of what he does for Deshaun Watson.
How the Texans got to a place where they had to make that trade and what they gave up to make it happen is a paint-by-numbers guide of how not to be a successful NFL general manager.
The Texans could have addressed the position years before by not pissing off Duane Brown and firing him into the sun. They could have properly valued the player and drafted his replacement. If not that, they could have used the embarrassment of riches in draft capital and cap space in the offseason before Brian Gaine was fired to put someone else in the LT spot.
I’m very happy to have Tunsil on the team. I’m not very happy with how he got here.
CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING for my answer to this. ”Necessary evil” is the answer. If the Texans had even average offensive line coaching and ability to develop offensive linemen, I would unequivocally call this a “bad trade” because good offensive line coaching and development could at least have turned an average young guy into above average, or maybe even a good young guy into great.
Now, make no mistake—Tunsil is ELITE—but the Texans have now paid BOTH a massive free agency-style contract for him AND two firsts, a second, and whatever else went to the Dolphins... and why? Because the O’Brien Era Texans cannot, and have never been able to, develop young offensive line talent on anything resembling a consistent basis. Meanwhile several offensive linemen have left Houston and played better than they ever did here. How offensive line coach Mike Devlin still has a job is even more confounding to me than how O’Brien remained employed as long as he did.
So in a bubble not taking all factors into account? Bad trade. For this team, with this garbage offensive line coaching and development that wanted to protect their present and future franchise QB? A necessary evil.
Take to the Comments to add your thoughts.