Laremy Tunsil

Latest On Laremy Tunsil

Appearing on NFL Live earlier today, Texans offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil unsurprisingly confirmed that’s aiming to become the NFL’s top-paid offensive lineman if and when he reaches a long-term deal with Houston.

“I’m not going to talk numbers, as I’m going to keep that between me and the club,” Tunsil said, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. “I am looking to be the highest-paid lineman, of course. I worked my butt off to be in that position and hopefully we can make that happen.”

Tunsil didn’t want to talk specific figures, but numbers have been reported. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle recently indicated the Texans are willing to make Tunsil the league’s highest-paid lineman and have offered an annual salary of $18.5MM, $500K more per year than the Eagles’ Lane Johnson collects.

Tunsil is reportedly looking to top $18.5MM annually, but it’s unclear just how much more he’s searching for. A $20MM/year pact would represent a significant increase in the offensive tackle market, but given that Houston sacrificed two first-round picks and a second-rounder to land Tunsil from the Dolphins last offseason, the 25-year-old holds all the leverage in talks.

The 13th overall selection in the 2016 draft, Tunsil will earn $10.35MM in 2019, the final year of his rookie pact. The Texans could conceivably retain him through 2021 by deploying consecutive franchise tags, but an extension seems far more likely.

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Laremy Tunsil, Texans Exchange Offers

The Texans and Laremy Tunsil may be progressing on a deal. The sides had preliminary talks last month, and Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets they have exchanged contract proposals.

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.

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Texans’ Laremy Tunsil Undergoes Surgery, Fires Agent

Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil is looking for a new contract, and he’s also recovering from a significant injury. Tunsil recently underwent shoulder surgery for a torn labrum, sources told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

We heard last week that Tunsil and the Texans had begun preliminary talks on an extension at the combine, and that he was seeking around $20MM annually. Sources also told Wilson that Tunsil fired his agents at CAA, and is now weighing his options. He’s apparently considering operating as his own agent like fellow left tackle Russell Okung has, and also is considering signing with the NFL division of NBA super-agent Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports.

The meeting at the combine came with CAA people before Tunsil fired his agents Wilson reports, so it sounds like things are back to square one. If Tunsil gets what he’s seeking, he’ll become the league’s highest-paid offensive linemen. He made the Pro Bowl last year, and the Texans want him blocking Deshaun Watson‘s blind side for the foreseeable future. Wilson notes that he’s expected to be ready to return to action by training camp, although he’ll presumably miss a good chunk of the offseason program.

Houston gave up a huge bounty to land Tunsil in a trade with the Dolphins last year, so they are going to be under a ton of pressure to get a deal done. They gave up two first-round picks and a second-rounder for the Ole Miss product, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal.

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Laremy Tunsil Shooting For $20MM AAV?

After sending the Dolphins two first-round picks and change in last summer’s Laremy Tunsil-centered swap, the Texans are prepared to negotiate with their prized left tackle. These talks will be interesting.

Tunsil and the Texans have engaged in preliminary talks and met with the fifth-year blocker’s agent at the Combine, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. While the sides are not deep in negotiations yet, the recent trade acquisition is expected to set an eye-opening price point.

Tunsil is expected to pursue a deal that pays him between $19-$20MM per year, Wilson adds. That would eclipse Lane Johnson‘s recent offensive line-record $18MM-AAV pact. Although Tunsil is not as accomplished as Philadelphia’s top tackle, the Texans sending two first-rounders for him — and the salary cap potentially set to vault into previously unforeseen territory in the near future –support Tunsil shooting for this price range.

Johnson represents the only offensive lineman earning more than $16.5MM per year presently. Tunsil joining him should be anticipated, however. The 25-year-old tackle is attached to a $10.3MM fifth-year option in 2020. The Texans would have the option of a franchise tag in 2021, but as more information about future salary caps comes out, Tunsil’s price may continue to rise.

The Texans received a Pro Bowl season from Tunsil in 2019; the ex-Ole Miss standout became the first Texans Pro Bowl offensive lineman since Duane Brown in 2014. Houston dealt Brown in 2017 and experienced considerable trouble replacing him over the next 1 1/2 seasons, with Deshaun Watson taking a 2010s-high 62 sacks in 2018. Pro Football Focus graded Tunsil as its No. 21 overall tackle but slotted him third overall in pass protection.

Houston enters the offseason with $61MM-plus in cap space and has some key needs on defense, but this will be a centerpiece priority for the team — one that will not have the luxury of upgrading too much in this year’s draft. The Texans traded four first-, second- or third-round 2020 picks last year, placing a premium on how they handle veteran contracts this year.

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Latest On Dolphins’ Trades, Strategy

In addition to moving on from numerous veterans this offseason, the Dolphins have now traded two players who were seemingly building blocks in Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick. These moves appear to have tripped the NFL’s alarm.

The Tunsil trade involved numerous Texans offers, with Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reporting the steps the AFC teams took to finalizing the trade that sent the left tackle to Houston. The Texans’ offers went from Jadeveon Clowney-for-Tunsil, straight up, to Clowney and a first-rounder for Tunsil to first- and second-rounders for Tunsil. The Dolphins managed to drive the price to two first-rounders and a second-round selection and requested tackle Julie’n Davenport in return, Salguero notes.

Upon seeing the Texans’ deal-closing offer on a board in Chris Grier‘s office, Tunsil told the Dolphins GM, “I would trade me for that too,” Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald adds (via Twitter).

In reshuffling their power structure after last season, the Dolphins were not planning to jettison Tunsil, Fitzpatrick, Kiko Alonso or T.J. McDonald. (The Dolphins dealt Alonso to the Saints and released McDonald.) Brian Flores‘ coaching staff clashed with Alonso, Salguero adds, and asked him to play multiple roles — including edge defender. The Dolphins demoted the highly paid linebacker before trading him.

Fitzpatrick is a Steeler, being dealt after a trade request. The second-year defensive back was not on board with the versatile role the Dolphins asked him to play, and Salguero adds the team never found a sufficient comfort level that would allow Fitzpatrick to settle in at one spot. Both Grier and owner Stephen Ross attempted to help Fitzpatrick and Miami’s coaching staff find common ground.

Myself, Brian, and Steve (Ross) — we had multiple conversations with him, saying we wanted him here and viewed him as a core piece and wanted him here,” Grier said. “The kid just felt it was time for him to move, and we told him what the value was. We told teams we had multiple offers, and we felt that the Pittsburgh one was the one best for the organization.”

Fitzpatrick’s rookie deal was worth $16.447MM over four years. Similar to the deal in which the Dolphins acquired Josh Rosen, the Steelers are only on the hook for Fitzpatrick’s base salaries. Pittsburgh has the 2018 No. 11 overall pick under contract through 2021 for $5.48MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter).
The Dolphins now hold three 2020 first-round picks. A building suspicion in NFL circles centers on the prospect this Dolphins rebuild may be a stealth effort for Trevor Lawrence in 2021, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. But Salguero adds one of Miami’s three 2020 first-rounders will be used to draft a quarterback — regardless of how Rosen performs in what now may be an extended audition. The Cardinals in 2018-19 and Baltimore Colts in 1982-83 were the most recent franchises to draft first-round passers in consecutive years, so as of now it looks like this oft-labeled tanking strategy is built around Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa (should he enter the 2020 draft).

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Dolphins Give Minkah Fitzpatrick Permission To Seek Trade

Minkah Fitzpatrick has received permission from the Dolphins to seek a trade, multiple sources tell Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com.

Fitzpatrick, who projected to be a cornerback/safety coming into the league, is unhappy with how the organization making him play multiple positions on defense. During training camp, Fitzpatrick’s mother tweeted that he was being used incorrectly and Fitzpatrick confirmed that he agreed with her assessment.

“She feels very strongly. She’s not wrong,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach has asked me to do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we’ll have those discussions.

“I’m not 215 pounds, 220 pounds. So playing in the box isn’t best suited for me, but that’s what Coach is asking me to do.”

The Dolphins are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick, according to Mortensen. If a deal gets done, it’ll be on Fitzpatrick’s camp to find a suitor. Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, has been in contact with several teams and Miami’s asking price appears to be high, as it involves a first-round pick.

Mortensen spoke with a personnel man from a rival team who said it would be surprising if the Dolphins netted a first-rounder for Fitzpatrick. The source was high on Fitzpatrick’s skills, though the pessimism had to do with the 22-year-old’s projected position. He told Mortensen that Fitzpatrick was an “ideal slot corner who can cover, blitz off the edge, [is] intelligent, a good tackler and a good special-teams player.” Another rival GM told Mortensen that Miami is being unrealistic about what their players will get in trades after coming away with two first-rounders in the Laremy Tunsil deal.

The former No. 11 overall pick is expected to play against the Patriots this week.

AFC South Notes: Tunsil, Brissett, Jack

New Texans starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil is wasting no time getting acclimated to his new team. Coach Bill O’Brien said the former first-round pick is putting in “double time” with regard to getting up to speed with Houston’s communication on packages, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle relays.

“Laremy has been in here all day working with Mike, working with a couple of guys, some of the veteran guys, Nick Martin, guys like that,” the coach said. “Look, at the end of the day, that’s going to be a challenge early on here because he just got here.

“But I think that he’s played a lot of football and maybe what somebody calls an apple, we call an orange. It’s just different terms, but it’s the same blocking assignment.”

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • Jacoby Brissett, who recently signed a new two-year, $30MM extension, told Mike Chappell of CBS4 in Indianapolis that he negotiated the contract himself. “I don’t like people to BS on my behalf. I try to say it for myself. . . . all you can be is honest,” the Colts new starting quarterback said. “I did my rookie contract, too, so I kind of had the gist of it.’’
  • The details on Myles Jacks new contract are in. The deal pays the linebacker $26.06MM in guarantees, as Pro Football Talk details. That figure is second in the league among inside linebackers (C.J. Mosley).
  • Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline envisions Dion Lewis being heavily involved in the Titan’s offense. Lewis has three years remaining on the four-year, $19.8MM deal he inked during the 2018 offseason.

More On Jadeveon Clowney Trade

A pair of blockbuster trades were consummated on cutdown day, one of which featured Jadeveon Clowney heading to Seattle. More details on that trade and how it went down may come out over the next couple of days, but here’s a roundup of what we have so far:

  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the Texans paid Clowney a $7MM signing bonus while the Seahawks will pick up the remaining $9MM of Clowney’s 2019 salary (Twitter link). The trade was already viewed as a big win for Seattle, and this tips the scales even further in the Seahawks’ favor. Critically, the Seahawks have promised Clowney that they will not put the franchise tag on him in 2020.
  • At one point, the Dolphins believed they were the frontrunners for Clowney, and when the trade to Seattle was first reported, we heard that Miami and the Texans were indeed headed towards a deal before Clowney made it clear that he would refuse to play for the Fins. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald confirms that report and says the Dolphins and Texans were on their way to a trade that would have sent Clowney and two very high picks to Miami in exchange for LT Laremy Tunsil, but Clowney’s aversion to South Beach scuttled that (Twitter link). Of course, the two sides did agree to a Tunsil trade, it just didn’t include Clowney.
  • Jackson adds in a separate tweet that the Dolphins only really considered Clowney a bonus, not necessarily a long-term piece. The team really wanted premium draft capital in a Tunsil trade, and that’s ultimately what Miami got.
  • Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network says that, when Clowney did not report to the Texans after their third preseason game, as Houston had expected, the team’s leverage was reduced even further. And when Clowney suggested that he was willing to miss regular season action if he was not traded, the Texans had to act to make the best deal they could (Twitter link).
  • Clowney will re-hire longtime agent Bus Cook, whom he had fired less than a week ago, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

Texans Acquire Laremy Tunsil, Kenny Stills From Dolphins

The Texans are going full edge makeover on Saturday. Despite the Dolphins not being the team to land Jadeveon Clowney, they are finalizing a deal to send Laremy Tunsil to Houston, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

This is a blockbuster. Kenny Stills will also head to Houston for a package of picks, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo report (on Twitter) one of those will be a first-rounder. In fact, two of those picks will be first-rounders. The Texans are sending two first-rounders and a second-rounder to the Dolphins for Tunsil and Stills, the NFL.com trio adds (on Twitter). This is a massive return for the Dolphins’ now-Chris Grier-led front office.

The full details of the picks changing hands are as follows, courtesy of Albert Breer of SI.com (Twitter link). Miami will get first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 from Houston, and a second-rounder in 2021. The Texans will get a 2020 fourth-rounder as well as a 2021 sixth-rounder back from the Dolphins.

Additionally, the Dolphins will receive two players from the Texans as well. Tackle Julie’n Davenport and special-teamer Johnson Bademosi will head to Miami, Rapoport tweets. Davenport, a 2017 fourth-round pick, started 15 games for the Texans last season.

To recap, the Texans dealt Jadeveon Clowney to the Seahawks, acquired Carlos Hyde from the Chiefs, landed cornerback Keion Crossen from the Patriots and are now receiving Tunsil and Stills from the Dolphins. The Texans are operating without a GM. De facto GM Bill O’Brien has now given up a Khalil Mack-level haul for the Tunsil-headlined package.

With the Colts losing Andrew Luck, the Texans became the Las Vegas favorites to win the AFC South. The division champions in three of the past four seasons, the Texans are using Saturday as a springboard to solidify their position. This comes despite Houston drafting linemen in the first two rounds this year — Tytus Howard and Max Scharping — and signing Matt Kalil. The Texans were set to play Howard at guard and Kalil at tackle. Tunsil will now protect Deshaun Watson‘s blind side.

No quarterback since Jon Kitna in 2006 took more sacks than Watson did in 2018, 62. As a result, the Texans will have a nearly remade offensive front. Tunsil started 30 games for the Dolphins at left tackle since 2017. He played left guard in 2016. He was expected to be 2016’s No. 1 overall pick before a leaked video damaged his draft stock, dropping him to Miami at No. 13.

Tunsil became extension-eligible in January, and it’s a good bet the Texans — who just cleared Clowney’s $15.9MM tag price off their books — will begin discussions soon. Two years remain on Tunsil’s rookie contract. Unlike the Mack trade, there is no extension coming immediately, but Rapoport adds (via Twitter) that is in the Texans’ plans.

Stills functioned as Miami’s deep threat for four seasons. While he never matched his career-best yardage total for the 2014 Saints, Stills twice surpassed 700 yards and has scored 21 touchdowns over the past three years. He makes for an interesting fit alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The latter is one of the NFL’s better deep threats. Stills, 27, is under contract through 2020. Nearly $15MM remains on his deal.

The Dolphins resisted dealing Tunsil in a Clowney swap, but the rebuilding team will now have an additional first-round pick with which to work. This accelerates the Dolphins’ rebuild project and obviously weakens their 2019 roster. They will be perhaps the top contender for the 2020 No. 1 overall pick, which could well be a quarterback. Miami was the first team reported to be eyeing the 2020 signal-caller crop.

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Latest On Texans, Dolphins, Jadeveon Clowney

If the Texans want Dolphins tackle Laremy Tunsil, they’ll have to pay a hefty price for him. The Texans have dangled a first-round pick and Jadeveon Clowney in a proposed deal for Tunsil, but the Fins want even more, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears from two NFL sources.

One of those sources tells Jackson that the Dolphins are seeking a high draft pick in addition to Clowney and a first-round choice. This could be a classic example of the old business adage, “Don’t tell them ‘no,’ tell them how much it will cost.”

The Dolphins’ interest in Clowney is very real, but so is their attachment to Tunsil, who is a quality tackle in a league that is largely devoid of them. There’s also this to consider – the Dolphins would have to give Clowney a hefty deal upon acquiring him, so they want to make sure the deal is worthwhile in total.

Will the Texans meet the sky-high asking price? That largely depends on exactly how desperate they are for left tackle help and how much other interested clubs will fork over for the former No. 1 overall pick.

Clowney is said to favor the Seahawks and Eagles, while the Dolphins, Jets, and Redskins have also touched base on him.

 

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