Left tackle Laremy Tunsil has truly found a home in Houston. After being traded to the Texans from Miami in 2019, Tunsil has made the Pro Bowl in every season except for last year, when he missed 12 games after undergoing season-ending thumb surgery. After another stellar season this year, Tunsil has his eyes on finishing his career in Houston, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, an expensive ask for the last place team of the AFC South.
Tunsil will head into a contract year next season and has intensions of resetting the market for NFL tackles. 49ers left tackle Trent Williams currently leads the position in average annual value with a deal worth $23.01MM per year. Tunsil isn’t hurting for money. His most recent deal had an AAV of $22MM. If the Texans intend to keep Tunsil in Houston long-term, they will likely need to reset the market for the position. A new deal for Tunsil could fetch an amount in the neighborhood of $24-25MM per year.
Tunsil is certainly worth it. He has consistently been one of the league’s top blindside blockers since coming to the Texans, saving his best season for just before negotiations for an extension. Tunsil ranked as the 10th best offensive tackle in the league this year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), boasting the best pass block grade of any tackle. That grade was certainly reflected in his production as he only allowed three quarterback hits and 17 pressures on the season.
Tunsil is working towards an All-Pro honor and a record-setting deal this offseason, and he’s put in a strong body of work towards both goals.
Here are a few other rumors from the AFC South, starting with a pair of free agents from the Hoosier State:
- Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell put himself in a good position heading into free agency this year with his best season to date. After missing 34 games in his first three seasons, the former second-round pick finally got to play a full, healthy season in Indianapolis. He stepped up when the Colts needed receivers behind No. 1 wideout Michael Pittman, finishing second on the team with 63 catches for 623 yards and three touchdowns. While his injury history may cause the Colts to hesitate on a long-term deal, Campbell showed that he has a role in the offense and provided a strong audition for any suitors this offseason. Campbell told Mike Chappell of FOX59 in Indianapolis that he would “absolutely” embrace a second contract with the Colts.
- Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke also had a strong contract year, finishing second on the team with a career-high 151 total tackles and six tackles for loss. This is the second strong season in a row for the 26-year-old who had 132 total tackles last year and tacked on two of his three career interceptions for good measure. Ranking as the league’s 21st best linebacker, according to PFF, Okereke had his best season since he graded out as the 9th best linebacker playing limited snaps in his rookie season. The changes in the Colts’ coaching staff may provide a hurdle for Okereke’s return, but if he isn’t able to come to an agreement with the team that drafted him, Okereke’s final season with the horseshoe on his helmet should set him up for a decent paycheck with a new team. Okereke spoke with Chappell about the possibility of exploring free agency, pointing out that his former defensive coordinator, Matt Eberflus, has since departed for a windier city.
- A bright spot in the Jaguars‘ season this year was the performance of key additions to the wide receivers room. After shelling out what many thought was too much money for receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, both players had career years that contributed to the team’s overall success. A key reason for those strong performances was wide receivers coach Chris Jackson who, according to Mia O’Brien of 1010 XL radio station, informed head coach Doug Pederson that he will be accepting the wide receivers coaching position at the University of Texas. Jacksonville will be on the lookout for a new position coach to lead a group next year that may lose veteran Marvin Jones to free agency but should add former Falcon Calvin Ridley following one year of his indefinite suspension.