Left tackle Laremy Tunsil and the Houston Texans have started talking about a multiyear contract extension, with the two sides exchanging preliminary proposals, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
Tunsil, whom the Texans acquired in 2019 for a huge package of picks, including two in the first round, is expected to become the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL. To be the NFL’s top-paid tackle, Tunsil would need to surpass $18 million per year, which Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson earned when he signed his contract in 2019.
The Texans have more than $34 million in available cap space, though they also hope to sign quarterback Deshaun Watson to a contract extension this offseason.
At his end-of-season news conference, Texans head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien said the team wants Tunsil in Houston “for a long time.” If Tunsil and the Texans do not agree to a contract extension this offseason, the left tackle would play on his fifth-year option, worth $10.35 million.
“Look, we want Laremy here,” O’Brien said in January. “Laremy knows that. I think, relative to contracts and all those different things, it really wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on any of those things just because I don’t think that’s fair to the player or the organization. I just think we got to keep those things in-house, but I can unequivocally state to you that we want Laremy here for a long time.”
Last season, Tunsil helped the Texans’ revamped offensive line go from allowing a league-high 68 sacks in 2018 to 49 sacks (ranked 25th in the NFL) in 2019.
However, according to NFLPenalties.com, Tunsil led the league with 17 penalties in 2019, including 14 false starts. He also had three penalties declined. In his final season with the Miami Dolphins, Tunsil had only eight penalties.
In 2019, Tunsil was named to his first Pro Bowl, the first Texans offensive lineman to receive the honor since left tackle Duane Brown in 2014.
On Monday, Tunsil announced that he would be committing up to $250,000 toward COVID-19 relief, including donations to the Florida Gateway Food Bank in his hometown of Lake City and the Star of Hope Mission in Houston.