Danielle Hunter To Sign With Texans

The Texans’ talks with Danielle Hunter will produce an agreement, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport. After the Vikings poached Jonathan Greenard, the Texans will bring in the longtime Minnesota sack artist. Hunter will join the Texans on a two-year deal worth $49MM, Rapoport adds.

Although Hunter ran into significant injury trouble to start this decade, he bounced back in a big way over the past two years. That recent surge will allow for a uniquely structured Texans contract. Houston is guaranteeing nearly the whole contract, with Schefter adding the nine-year veteran will receive $48MM fully guaranteed.

The Colts also pursued Hunter, but they are not known for big spending on outside FAs under Chris Ballard. The Texans’ payroll also lines up well with this two-year Hunter guarantee. Hunter will receive $29.5MM in the first year of this deal, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News tweets.

This marks a homecoming for Hunter, who went to high school in the Houston area. Hunter spent the past six seasons tied to a contract that was widely viewed as Vikings-friendly in the moment. After two reworkings, the former third-round pick made his way to free agency. The second of those adjustments prevented the Vikings from franchise-tagging Hunter, which will lead him out of town. While the Vikes will lean on Greenard, the Texans will pair reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson with a more established sack ace.

While Greenard notched his first double-digit sack season last year, Hunter has five such seasons on his resume. Despite Hunter entering the NFL in 2015, he is still just 29. The youngest player in league history to reach 50 sacks, Hunter was a mainstay during Mike Zimmer‘s Minnesota years and played the lead role in the past two Vikings pass rushes.

This included a 16.5-sack performance last year, which also featured Hunter leading the NFL with 23 tackles for loss. That generated trade interest, and while the Texans were not pursuing Hunter at the time, they will come away with one of this year’s top free agents today.

Tied to a $14MM-per-year deal for an extended period — albeit with multiple adjustments, coming in 2021 and 2023 — Hunter will do well on this short-term agreement. The Texans will also take advantage of their setup. Last year, the team effectively had low- or mid-level deals across its roster save for along the offensive line. With Anderson and C.J. Stroud on rookie deals through at least 2025, Houston will capitalize. Hunter’s contract will overlap fully with the Anderson and Stroud rookie accords. He will join Azeez Al-Shaair and Denico Autry as new starters on DeMeco Ryans‘ defense.

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