There could be some huge roster changes in store for the Houston Texans this offseason.
Will the Houston Texans actually be able to make trades for three of their highest-profile players during the 2022 offseason? Those players include quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Those three players are in possession of the three highest contracts currently on the Texans’ roster.
The given is eventually the Texans will be trading Watson as the front office and coaching staff all have moved on from Watson, who just two seasons ago was the NFL passing leader.
The same can be said for Watson ready to move away from the Texans too, but there are still non-trade clauses to be worked out, and legal issues on Watson’s part away from the Texans that need to be settled before some sort of blockbuster trade can happen.
Watson’s contract for ’22 is a base salary of $35 million with $40.4 million cap hit, according to spotrac.com.
Then there is the saga of should the Texans trade one of the best left tackles in the entire NFL, because they are in a rebuilding mode still, and Tunsil could bring a lot of draft capital in return. Remember when the Texans traded for Tunsil and the first-round and second-round picks that were traded away for the tackle? Maybe general manager Nick Caserio could get some of those picks back in a trade of Tunsil.
One team in desperate need of Tunsil’s services are the reigning AFC Champions, Cincinnati Bengals, as their second-year quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked seven times in the Super Bowl, and if they would have had a star like Tunsil at left tackle, those sack numbers wouldn’t have been that high.
Tunsil – who will be entering his seventh NFL season – has a contract year of $17.85 million coming up for the ’22 season with a $26,153,333 cap hit for this season as well, according to spotrac.com. Tunsil’s contract has an out following the ’22 season, but the contract is set to go through the ’23 season, making him a free agent in ’24 at only 30 years old. His contract was $40 million guaranteed with the signing bonus.
Houston Texans: Will Brandin Cooks be traded this offseason?
With Deshaun Watson and Laremy Tunsil having the two highest contracts on the Texans for ’22 at this point of the offseason, the third highest is Brandin Cooks and there have been rumors the Texans are willing to trade him as well.
Cooks’ base salary for ’22 is $12.5 million with a cap hit of $16,205,871. So if a team does decide they’d like to have Cooks as one of their receivers, they will have hefty contracts to pay for this upcoming season with Cooks being eligible for free agency in ’23.
The possible trades of Watson and Tunsil are understandable because Watson doesn’t want to be with the team, and with Tunsil his cap number is huge, and they could get a huge return for the left tackle. The Texans have Tytus Howard they can move to left tackle full time, then fill in the right tackle spot through the draft, free agency, or with a player already on the roster.
It makes sense to trade both of those players because of the possible return in helping the Texans rebuild their roster. As for Cooks, keeping him makes sense for the ’22 season because he can only help improve the play of quarterback Davis Mills in his second season … that is if Mills stays the starting quarterback.
Mills will have to compete for the starter’s spot under center according to head coach Lovie Smith, but that will only make Mills a better overall player. Keeping Cooks as his top wide receiver for at least one more season is needed for Mills’ progression, and it would be a mistake to trade Cooks … unless the offer for the veteran wide receiver is too big to pass on.
Caserio and the front office of the Houston Texans have some big decisions to make as they are of great importance for the future of the franchise.
If they can get solid returns on Watson and Tunsil, that would set up a possible nice future for this franchise, but to help Mills become the best quarterback he can be, keeping Cooks on the roster for ’22 is a smart decision they need to make too.