The Houston Texans ink Shaq Mason, continuing the offensive line overhaul
By Peter Manfre
The Texans continue to invest in the longevity of their offensive line.
The Houston Texans have spent the last few years pouring resources into their offensive line. Most notably, they traded two first-round picks for Laremy Tunsil and have twice made him the sport's highest-paid left tackle on a per-year basis. They've also spent first-round selections on left guard Kenyon Green and right tackle Tytus Howard.
That being said, going into this offseason the Texans still had to fill two voids on the line at the center and right guard positions. Prior to selecting Penn State center Juice Scruggs with the 62nd overall pick, they sent a sixth-round selection to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for right guard Shaq Mason. This was the team's first sign of acknowledgment of the areas of growth they had on the line as well as a willingness to bring in the right players to fill those holes.
Mason said in an interview a few weeks ago how much he loved Houston, and it looks like Texans general manager Nick Caserio and company felt the same as the Texans have doubled down on their investment in Mason, a nine-year veteran with two super bowl rings, by inking him to a three-year, $36M extension with $22M guaranteed. This extension gives clarity to a player and position that only had one year left on their current contract.
The Texans are continuing to build around Stroud
More importantly, it signifies the Texans' continual investment in their offensive line, franchise quarterback, and offense. For the first time in the franchise's history, the Texans have a clear plan at each position on the line.
The Texans could end up with a top-ten offensive line by the end of the season in both pass and run blocking. Tunsil, Howard, and Mason all had seasons of PFF grades at or above 90 in the last three years. Mason has a PFF grade of 89 dating back to 2017. The argument can be made that each player is in the top five at their respective position in the league. There aren't many offensive lines in football that have that recognition and productivity.
Mason's contract extension also gives rookie signal caller C.J. Stroud a legitimate chance at having his entire starting offensive line last through his rookie contract. The only member not yet locked into a multi-year commitment to Houston is Howard. This stability is crucial for the success of the new franchise quarterback.