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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
John Crumpler

Texans complete the win-win in Laremy Tunsil extension

After a season where left tackle Laremy Tunsil was one of the best in football, allowing only one sack in 17 games, the Houston Texans opted to pay him like it.

The Texans and Tunsil worked out a three-year, $75 million extension with $60 million guaranteed and a yearly salary average that ensures he is the highest paid at his position.

Since his trade to the team from the Miami Dolphins in 2019, Tunsil has been a staple of Houston’s offensive line. Despite the team’s overall lack of success in 2022, he turned in his best performance to date while the Texans limped their way to three wins in 17 games. There was no doubt that he was the best player on the roster and the team had discussed him and his contract status as a priority entering the off-season.

There were minor trade rumors during the past week, with the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs allegedly calling to check on Tunsil’s availability. However, it would appear Houston had no issue doubling down in their commitment to him and it appears to be one of the easiest decisions of general manager Nick Caserio’s tenure with the team.

On a pure football level, the Texans will be better in both 2023 and beyond with Tunsil on the roster. He’s an elite tackle and one that consistently shut down elite pass rushers last season. His commitment to the team and high-level play at a premier position is a logical building block for coach DeMeco Ryans.

Granularly, Tunsil will be responsible for protecting Houston’s incoming rookie quarterback for the next several seasons. It will certainly aid the development of either Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud to have that level of play protecting their blindside. In the run game, offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik has a high-level player that has shown an ability to excel in that area when motivated. The tackle duo between Tunsil and right tackle Tytus Howard has an argument for one of the best in the entire league.

That feels really good for an overall poor Houston roster.

Beyond the overall picture, the deal is an immediate win for Tunsil himself. He becomes the highest paid left tackle in NFL history, for the second time in a row, and will have a chance to re-enter the market in just three years for another potential record setting deal. Few players are paid their absolute worth in the NFL and Tunsil’s self-negotiated contract makes him one of the few.

For Caserio, he should sleep a little easier tonight. Tunsil’s presence enhances the likelihood of success for both the entire team and the rookie quarterback that will likely define his tenure in Houston. Ryans has one of the best offensive lineman in football to serve as both a captain and a locker room leader.

Tunsil was due a $35M cap hit for 2023 and that number should now go down with the extension. This could allow the team brass to find one more additional starter in free agency as they look to launch an era of winning under Ryans.

Contract negotiations generally involve compromise from every angle. This looks like one of the few deals where everyone comes out better off than they were before.

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