This does not appear to be a sign the sides are especially close on a new contract, though. No agreement is imminent, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle adds (via Twitter). But this pact will make Tunsil the NFL’s highest-paid tackle, per Wilson. The only question will be by how much does the former first-round pick separate himself from the field.
Houston has come in with an $18.5MM-per-year offer, Wilson tweets. Tunsil’s counteroffer is “significantly” higher, per Wilson. With Lane Johnson‘s $18MM-per-year pact leading all offensive linemen, the Texans’ first proposal is notable. With $18.5MM AAV being the team’s starting point, this could be a monster deal Tunsil.
Tunsil has been extension-eligible since January 2019, but his outlook changed once the Texans gave up two-first-round picks and change for him last summer. The Texans trading away DeAndre Hopkins also cleared a high-salary slot on Houston’s payroll.
The former Dolphins draft pick is expected to push for a $20MM-per-year accord. Tunsil going for a deal north of $20MM annually makes sense given where the cap could go in the near future under the new CBA. Anthony Castonzo‘s new Colts deal averages $16.5MM annually, but with Tunsil only going into his age-26 season and having seen the Texans give up major assets for him, his deal will almost certainly come in much higher.
Tunsil made his first Pro Bowl last season. While his resume does not profile as a player who would warrant a contract well north of the tackle market, the Ole Miss product was once in contention to become 2016’s No. 1 overall pick. And the Texans’ 2019 trade package sent to the Dolphins for him increased his leverage in extension talks, just as the Rams’ haul sent to the Jaguars will when Jalen Ramsey negotiations begin.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.