How the Texans botched the Laremy Tunsil trade

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Houston probably overpaid for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but not by much. I’ll vehemently disagree with those who say Houston got robbed. Houston gave up two first-round picks and a second, plus two marginal players, and got Tunsil, a 25-year-old quality long-term left tackle, durable receiver Kenny Stills (missed two of 99 career games with injuries) and fourth and sixth-round picks. Say the Texans give the 20th pick in 2020 and the 20th and 52nd picks in 2021. A long-term left tackle is certainly worth two mid-round ones.

As for the second-round pick, Houston will be glad to have Stills for the next two seasons at the slightly inflated tab of $15-million total, because they’ve had major injury issues beyond DeAndre Hopkins. Miami’s fourth and sixth-round picks will be near the top of each round. So Miami probably wins a deal of a mid-round two for Stills, a four and a six, but it’s not awfully lopsided at all.

HOWEVER (and there’s a reason I all-capped that word), the Texans blew the business part of it. Where Houston erred here is not even trying to get a contract extension done with Tunsil. He is due $12.5-million over the next two seasons. Last year, when Khalil Mack was in the process of being traded from Oakland to Chicago, the Bears got a new contract done with Mack before making the mega-trade. Bill O’Brien, or someone inside the GM-less Texans, should have told Tunsil and his agent: We’ll do this deal with Miami, and we really want you, but only if you extend your contract for five years at $18-million average, with $50 million guaranteed. And you’ve got six hours to decide. I’m guessing at the numbers, but for a guy about to make $2.15 million in his fourth NFL season, at 25, playing for the worst team in the league, well, that doesn’t seem like much of a decision to me. And Houston got nothing done with his contract. That means if Tunsil is as good as Houston thinks this year, the Texans will owe him a lot more in 2020 or ’21 when they’ve got to pay him. But the Texans had a desperate need at left tackle, couldn’t get to first base with Washington on Trent Williams, and will have one of the best young tackles in the game protecting Deshaun Watson this year. That matters.

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