Texans, LT Laremy Tunsil Agree To Extension

The Texans have signed left tackle Laremy Tunsil to a record-setting extension. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, player and team are in agreement on a three-year deal worth $75MM, including $50MM in fully guaranteed money and $60MM in total guarantees (Twitter link).

Houston acquired Tunsil in a blockbuster deal with the Dolphins in 2019, sending two first-round picks, a second-rounder, and two players to Miami in exchange for the blindside blocker and WR Kenny Stills. In light of that massive haul and the fact that he earned Pro Bowl honors in his first year in Houston, Tunsil — who operates without an agent — had considerable leverage when it came time to talk extension with the Texans. He landed a three-year, $66MM contract in April 2020, and the $22MM annual average on that deal was a record for left tackles at the time.

That AAV has since been surpassed by Trent Williams and David Bakhtiari, but Tunsil’s new $25MM/year rate once again positions him atop the LT hierarchy. In a piece by Jeff Howe and Adam Coleman of The Athletic (subscription required), Coleman notes that Tunsil will have the chance to hit the market in three years, which suggests that the new extension simply scrapped the final year of his previous contract and will run through the 2025 season. As such, Tunsil will be eligible for free agency when he is just 31 years old, thereby giving him a great chance to cash in all over again in fairly short order.

The contract will drop Tunsil’s 2023 cap number down from $35MM to $26.6MM, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 adds. Tunsil’s 2024 cap figure drops to $25.9MM, with Wilson adding the 2025 and ’26 hits check in at $28.9MM apiece. Tunsil’s 2023 and ’24 base salaries are fully guaranteed, and his 2025 base features a partial injury guarantee ($10MM). That $10MM injury guarantee shifts to a full guarantee a year out, as Wilson adds it vests on Day 5 of the 2024 league year.

Though the payout is staggering, it is difficult to argue with the Texans’ decision to authorize it. After Tunsil missed most of the 2021 season with a thumb injury, he bounced back in a big way in 2022, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ 10th-best offensive tackle and boasting the best pass-block grade of any tackle. That grade was supported by the fact that he only allowed three quarterback hits and 17 pressures on the year, and he earned Pro Bowl acclaim for the third time in his four Houston seasons (the only year in which he did not receive that honor as a member of the Texans was his injury-shortened 2021 campaign).

Plus, the Texans are widely expected to select a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, as Albert Breer of SI.com recently confirmed. So while having an elite left tackle is a top priority for any team, it is especially critical for a rebuilding Houston outfit that could be deploying a rookie under center as soon as Week 1. The club also has Tytus Howard, another extension candidate, at right tackle, giving it an enviable OT situation. The Texans also made a recent move to bolster the interior of their O-line by trading for guard Shaq Mason.

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