A big deal

Did the Texans really overpay for Laremy Tunsil? Let's dive into the numbers

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There was much ado about Laremy Tunsil's reported $22 million per year deal with the Texans, which made him the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. But if you break down the numbers, the contract is not as cap damaging as the initial reports.

When you see big money deals like this, it is easy to be critical. But without context, you don't get the whole story. The most important part of the contract is the yearly cap hit; that impacts how much the team will have to spend on other players.

Per overthecap.com, the year by year breakdown of the deal is not nearly as punitive as $22 million per year would indicate. In fact, Tunsil's cap hit at no point reaches $22 million in a single season. The reason for the high average? Tunsil got a boost on his 2020 cap hit, which was to be $10.5 million.

Let's look at the year by year impact on the salary cap:

2020: $14.1 million. This is pretty much fair to below market value for a 26-year-old left tackle coming off his first Pro Bowl.

2021: $19.4 million. The first year of the extension kicks at a level that is above any other left tackle. High, but not ridiculous.

2022: $21.1 million. This is where you start getting into questionable territory, but in two years this probably will not make him the top paid offensive lineman.

2023: $21.75 million. See 2022.

The good news is if Tunsil busts, the Texans could bail after two years with only $6.5 in dead money. Ideally, though, you do not expect to punt on your franchise left tackle. So the last two years will be critical. Before the Rona, everyone expected the salary cap to go up exponentially, making those last two years palatable. But that remains to be seen.

So overall, this is not a big overpay, but certainly a slight one. They were always going to have to pay an average of $17-18 million per year minimum, so a slight overpay costs them the price of a backup lineman. Of in the Texans case, a kicker, on top of what he would have gotten. So not a terrible deal at all.

Now the bad news. In context with some of the other recent deals, the Texans could easily run into cap trouble when they get Deshaun Watson his extension. Whitney Mercilus' will take up anywhere from $12-14 million over the next four years with no real escape plan. Bernardrick McKinney and Nick Martin have over-market deals as well. Not to mention overpaying a kicker.

They also overpaid for Randall Cobb, whose cap hit bumps to over $10 million in 2021 and 2022.

The Texans could move on from David Johnson after 2020 and Brandin Cooks as well, but one-year rentals for a second round pick and DeAndre Hopkins? Not a good look. Johnson will cost $9 million and Cooks $12 million in 2021.

There will be ways to clear cap space - guys like Will Fuller, Bernardrick McKinney and Zach Fulton could all be jettisoned next season in addition to Cooks and Johnson. And the one no one wants to hear - J.J. Watt. But are there viable replacements for all these players on the roster? That is the bigger question.

So before you blame the Tunsil extension on future cap problems, keep in mind his deal is not that outrageous. It is some of the other ones that should be causing concern.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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