Should the Texans have kept draft picks over Laremy Tunsil?

Houston Texans Deshaun Watson (4) Laremy Tunsil (78) Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Texans Deshaun Watson (4) Laremy Tunsil (78) Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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laremy tunsil, deshaun watson, houston texans
Houston Texans Deshaun Watson (4) Laremy Tunsil (78) Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Which is better for the Houston Texans: Draft picks or Laremy Tunsil?

The Houston Texans a couple years ago made a franchise altering decision when the front office decided to trade two first round picks (2020 and 2021), a second round selection (2021), Johnson Bademosi, and Julién Davenport to the Miami Dolphins for left tackle Laremy Tunsil, wide receiver Kenny Stills, a 2020 fourth round pick and a 2021 sixth round pick.

Some of that has already been paid by the Houston Texans as the first round pick they traded to the Dolphins (26th overall) for ’20 was used by Miami in another trade with the Green Bay Packers, eventually leading them to drafting cornerback Noah Igbinoghene from Aubrun with the 30th overall selection.

This year the Dolphins received the third overall pick from the Tunsil trade, and the second round pick will be the 35th overall selection. The Texans have since released Stills, and the fourth round pick the Texans gained for this past April’s draft was traded away as well by Houston.

So basically the important part of this trade resulted in the Houston Texans receiving a franchise left tackle in Tunsil for what became Igbinoghene in the first round last year for Miami, the third overall pick this year, and the 35th overall pick in 2021 as well.

That is a lot to give up for any player, but on the other hand having a franchise left tackle is very important because protecting franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson is the most important part of this trade, and the reason for the trade in the first place. The season before Tunsil, Watson was sacked 62 times to lead the NFL.

Now as the Houston Texans unsuccesful season is over — they finished 4-12 overall — one must ask was this trade worth it? Would the Texans have been better off keeping their draft picks, and finding a solid left tackle in the draft last year, or through other ways of obtaining players like a different trade or free agency?

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Houston Texans News: Two seasons so far with Laremy Tunsil

Laremy Tunsil has played the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the Houston Texans since they made the blockbuster trade for him to become the franchise left tackle. Since then he’s signed a contract that will keep him with the Texans through the 2023 season at which he will be 29 years old. There is an out after the 2022 season which leaves the contract at three years, $57.85 million for $3.25 million in dead cap space for the Houston Texans according to

Tunsil earned $10.85 million this past season playing left tackle for the Texans, and in 2021 he’s scheduled to earn $16.15 million, followed with a 2022 season at $17.85 million. In 2023 Tunsil is on the books to earn $18.5 million then he becomes a UFA in 2024.

This $66 million contract for Tunsil was a deal made without an agent, plus Tunsil made the deal with now former general manager (and former head coach) Bill O’Brien.

The former GM was fired after an 0-4 start to the 2020 season, and Houston has just hired Nick Caserio as the new general manager of the Texans this past week, so one must wonder what type of deal Caserio would have made with Tunsil.

As for the matter at hand, Laremy Tunsil in his time with the Texans has played in 28 of a possible 32 regular season games in the past two seasons, playing in 14 games in each of the past two years. Tunsil has never played in all 16 games at any point of his now five-year NFL career, but he’s been a success on the field nonetheless.

Before the 2020 season, Tunsil was voted on by his peers as the 66th best player in the NFL of the Top 100 list. In his two seasons with Houston, Tunsil has been selected to two Pro Bowls, the only two selections of his career.

Laremy Tunsil in two seasons with the Texans has also allowed only five sacks with three allowed in ’19 and two allowed this past season. Tunsil has played in 1,732 offensive snaps the past two seasons for the Texans, and according to Pro Football Focus, Tunsil graded at 75.8 in 2019, and in ’20 his PFF grade was 75.4.

Also in 2019 Tunsil was a member off the Sporting News All-Pro Team, a first-team selection at offensive tackle, but was one player worth what was the future of the franchise at the time?

The “future of the franchise” is now the “present of the franchise” as the 2021 NFL Draft is where Miami will really cash in as the Texans were the third worst team in the NFL standings this season.