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How Correa dilemma feels like Houston sports history repeating itself

Pay this man! Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

Back in September of the 2009 NFL season, Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson was angling for a new contract. The team frachise tagged him instead of negotiating a long-term deal when they couldn't come to terms. Robinson held out all of training camp amid the dispute. Rick Smith, the then general manager, was called to task with Robinson's infamous "PAY ME RICK" stitched on the back of his cleats before the opening game against the Jets. They went on to lose that game 24-7, went 8-8 that season, and Robinson signed with the Falcons in that offseason.

Fast forward 12 years, and the Astros' Carlos Correa is in the same position, as is Astros general manager James Click. After turning down a reported six year/$120 million dollar deal, Correa also turned down a five year/$125 million dollar deal as well. He's supposedly seeking a big dollar, long-term deal such as the ones fellow shortstops Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 year/$340 million dollars) and Francisco Lindor (10 years/$341 million dollars) received recently. Like most athletes in a contract year, Correa is performing at a high level. He's hitting .296 with 14 homers, 40 RBI, and 51 runs scored. Along with his impressive batting stats, he's sporting a .984 fielding percentage and has been healthy all season.

Correa will be 27 in September. Signing him to a 10-year deal wouldn't be as bad as one would think. However, it makes better business sense to sign him to a shorter term deal considering his injury history. Correa and his team are looking for security and money. Anything eight years or more worth upwards of $25-30 million dollars a year would be ideal for them in my opinion. Click hasn't been a general manager for very long and is facing a tough decision. Owner Jim Crane may be looking at his payroll and decide against offering Correa the kind of deal he's looking for, especially when one thinks of the money he's paying Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve. On the flip side, Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander are most likely both coming off the books after this season. If neither, or only one is brought back, that could open a salary spot for Correa.

The true tell will be what he's offered on the open market. Teams like the Yankees, who have a need at shortstop, will always be in position to outbid the Astros. There will be a couple other shortstops hitting the market as well who are just as good as Correa. So far, Correa has bet on himself. If you ask me, he's winning. If he keeps this up, he'll definitely get paid this offseason. Whether it's the Astros or another team is still in question.

Personally speaking, they should pay him. He's been the face of the team following the cheating scandal. His performance in the playoffs last season was remarkable. He's staying healthy, so far, and is performing at an All-Star level. Not often do you get a guy at his age, playing this good, at a key position. If you bring back Verlander at a cheaper salary, let Greinke walk, and offer Correa a competitive deal, the window could stay open a bit longer than most expect. At the rate he's going, Correa may be pricing himself out of Houston. If he stays healthy and keeps performing, Correa's own words will come back to haunt the Astros for not paying him: "What are they gonna say now?"

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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