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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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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