Laremy Tunsil

Contract Details: Tunsil, Texans, Fales, Jets

Details on a couple of recent NFL deals:

  • Laremy Tunsil‘s three-year, $66MM extension with the Texans has been officially processed, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The add-on starts in 2021 and takes him through the 2024 season. All together, it comes out to a $76.35MM arrangement with $40MM fully guaranteed and $50MM effectively guaranteed. The deal also calls for an escalation in cap hits, giving Houston more short-term flexibility – Tunsil is set to count for cap hits of $14.1MM, $19.4MM, $21.1MM, and $21.75MM in each of the next four seasons.
  • The Jets‘ one-year deal with quarterback David Fales is worth $910K – the veteran’s minimum – with just $100K guaranteed (Twitter link via Connor Hughes of The Athletic). It’s a low-cost deal that will allow the Jets to keep Fales on the 53-man roster if they wish, or drop him this summer without much of a cap penalty. For now, he’ll fight for a spot behind Sam Darnold, alongside fourth-round pick James Morgan.

AFC Notes: Tunsil, Dalton, Ross, Bengals

Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil recently landed a three-year, $66MM extension that easily made him the league’s highest-paid offensive lineman, and he did it without an agent. Tunsil negotiated the contract himself and he’s quite happy he did, writes Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com. Tunsil said he thinks he “started a trend by not having an agent doing my deal,” and that he “wanted to reset the market and become the highest-paid offensive linemen just so all the young players under me [know] that anything is possible.”

During the press call Tunsil revealed that he first started talking with the Texans back in February, and that he was insistent on signing a shorter-term deal so he could re-enter free agency again when he was still young. Tunsil is locked up through the 2023 season now, and he’ll still only be 29 when he hits free agency in the spring of 2024. This could become a growing trend in the league, and Tunsil said he spoke with Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, who also negotiated his own contract, during the process. “You just have to bet on yourself, and that’s what I did, and I got the deal done,” Tunsil declared. “I’m extremely proud of myself and the team. I’m still speechless, even though it was a couple of days ago they made the announcement. I’m still speechless.”

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The draft came and went, and the Bengals were unable to find any takers for Andy Dalton. They’ve been trying to trade their former starting quarterback for a while, and Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic thinks they will end up releasing him shortly after failing to unload him over the weekend. It looks like Cincy is about to finally give up on trading Dalton and the nearly $18MM he’s owed for 2020. We heard shortly before the draft that the Bengals hadn’t ruled out keeping him, but that was likely just a ploy to try to keep his trade value alive. The game of quarterback musical chairs has pretty much ended, and there aren’t many teams out there still looking for a veteran signal-caller. The Patriots have been rumored as an option, and it’ll be very interesting to see where Dalton ends up signing once he gets released. The Colts apparently sniffed around before opting to sign Philip Rivers.
  • Speaking of the Bengals, the draft also spelled bad news for receiver John Ross. Dehner writes that the selection of former Clemson receiver Tee Higgins at the top of the second-round “does pretty much confirm this will be Ross’ last year in Cincinnati.” The Bengals drafted Ross ninth overall in 2017, and his career got off to a very bumpy start. Injuries limited him to only three games and zero catches as a rookie, and he had only 210 yards in 2018. This past season he got off to a torrid start, racking up 270 yards and three touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season. He cooled off quickly after that though, and ended up missing another eight games due to injury. He finished with 506 yards in eight games, but the progress apparently still didn’t inspire much confidence within the organization. The Bengals will have to decide this week whether or not to pick up Ross’ fifth-year option for 2021, and Dehner makes it sound like that isn’t too likely.

Texans To Extend Laremy Tunsil

The Texans have reached an agreement on a three-year extension for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). It’s a monster number — $66MM — for the former first-round pick.

In addition to a $22MM salary, $57MM is guaranteed. The contract contains a $13MM signing bonus, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Tunsil will receive $40MM over the first two years of the deal, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

The numbers on Tunsil’s new money are, in a word, staggering. Tunsil confirmed earlier this month that he planned on becoming the NFL’s highest-paid offensive tackle, and he’s done so by a wide margin. Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson previously held that honor with an $18MM/year average, but Tunsil has now exceeded that figure by $4MM, a hefty increase.

This year, Tunsil will take home more than $27MM, with Wilson adding he will receive $16.85MM fully guaranteed in 2021. In 2022, $10MM of Tunsil’s $17.85MM base salary is guaranteed. His $18.5MM 2023 salary is non-guaranteed.

Tunsil’s $57MM in guarantees almost surely refers to injury guarantees, not full guarantees. The Raiders’ Trent Brown currently leads all offensive linemen $36.25MM in fully guaranteed money, so $57MM would represent an unprecedented jump. Johnson received $55.845MM in injury guarantees on his extension with Philadelphia, and Tunsil has now topped that as well.

Of course, Tunsil held all the leverage in talks with Houston and exerted that clout as best he could. The Texans made a stunning trade to acquire Tunsil last year, sending two first-round picks plus a second-rounder to Miami in order to land 25-year-old starter. Having made that move, there was simply no way Houston could allow Tunsil to leave via free agency, so the club had to give him a massive extension.

Tunsil, the 13th overall selection in the 2016 draft, had one year and $10.35MM remaining on his contract. While the Texans could have theoretically franchised him in both 2021 and 2022, Tunsil could have sat out or refused to sign the tag. The optics of such a maneuver wouldn’t have been great for Houston. Instead, a three-year extension will lock up Tunsil through the 2023 campaign.

In spite of his new annual salary, Tunsil remains a good — not great — left tackle. While he’s been a full-time starter in each of his four NFL seasons, he’s never made an All-Pro team and was given a Pro Bowl nod just once (2019). Pro Football Focus, meanwhile, graded Tunsil just outside the top-20 tackles in each of the past two years.

Tunsil, who fired his agent in March, negotiated this deal directly with Texans head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien, tweets Wilson. Tunsil received input from outside advisors, but he clearly did very well for himself in working out a new contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.