According to multiple reports, Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil may find himself on the trading block this offseason. General manager Nick Caserio continues to overturn his roster in the midst of a lengthy rebuilding plan that will truly commence once star quarterback Deshaun Watson is traded. The 27-year-old Tunsil is unlikely to remain in the prime of his career by the time the Texans are truly ready to compete for a Super Bowl once again, and acquiring future draft capital in exchange for Tunsil could represent a wiser move for the developing Texans. The Texans also have an in-house replacement in Tytus Howard, who performed admirably at left tackle down the stretch of the 2021 campaign. Tunsil, who was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Texans in a blockbuster 2019 deal, is set to earn a base salary of $17.8 million in 2022 while carrying a sizable cap hit of $26.1 million, via Spotrac. A potential trade would almost certainly have to involve a reworked contract of sorts. We've identified three NFL franchises that should consider acquiring Tunsil via trade.
CINCINNATI BENGALSThis metaphorical destination easily represents the most straightforward one. The Cincinnati Bengals were defeated by the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI largely in part due to their inability to protect franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow was sacked an astounding seven times throughout the contest, including a late fourth-down takedown by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald that ultimately decided the outcome. Cincinnati's pass protection woes on Super Bowl Sunday weren't an anomaly. Burrow and the Bengals experienced a postseason record-setting nine sacks against the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round. General manager Duke Tobin owns the 31st overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, a pick that the Texans would surely demand as part of a package in exchange for Tunsil. This shouldn't bother or worry Tobin much, as Tunsil is likely to be far more productive than any offensive tackle Cincinnati could draft late in the first round. The Bengals need to acquire guaranteed reinforcements across their offensive line this offseason, and Tunsil is a talented qualifier. The Bengals also possess nearly $50 million in cap space, a number which gives them the financial flexibility necessary to aggressively pursue upgrades up front. Current left tackle Jonah Williams could kick to right tackle or even inside to make room for Tunsil on the blindside. The Bengals possess the cap space and positional need necessary to justify acquiring Tunsil.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTSThe Eric Fisher experiment didn't necessarily work out for the Colts in 2021. Fisher's play went up-and-down like a rollercoaster and the former No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft was credited with giving up seven sacks, eight penalties, and 41 total pressures in 15 regular-season appearances, via Pro Football Focus. Fisher is now set to reach free agency in March and the Colts should seriously ponder acquiring an upgrade in hopes of making starting quarterback Carson Wentz more comfortable in the pocket. General manager Chris Ballard has been relatively risk-averse in recent offseasons, but the Colts' failure to qualify for the 2021 postseason served as an unfortunate reality check for the franchise. Ballard must ruthlessly upgrade the Colts' offense if they hope to contend with the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South title in 2022. The Colts are well set up against the cap, and currently possess more than $37 million in available money. That number should increase in the coming weeks. The Texans may be initially hesitant to deal Tunsil to a division rival, but beggars can't be choosers, and Tunsil's peak will likely be reaching its end by the time the Texans can seriously compete within the division again.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKSThe Seattle Seahawks gave up an astounding 46 sacks in 2021 despite possessing one of the better off-script creators at the quarterback position in Russell Wilson. Starting left tackle Duane Brown is set to become a free agent and general manager John Schneider must move on from the soon-to-be-37-year-old Brown, whose best footballing years are behind him. The Seahawks experienced an extremely disappointing season that resulted in a last-place finish in the ultra-competitive NFC West. Wilson has expressed frustrations with the direction of the franchise in the past, and head coach Pete Carroll and Schneider must showcase an aggressive willingness to improve the team around Wilson this offseason. Acquiring a talented player such as Tunsil would go a long way towards signaling their commitment to improvement. The Seahawks have more than $35 million in available cap space and can afford to execute such a deal. It’s worth noting Schneider's Seahawks are currently without a first-round selection in the 2022 draft after parting with the selection in the Jamal Adams trade. It means Schneider would have to get creative in his efforts to acquire Tunsil. The Seahawks, however, still possess four selections in the first three rounds and could always include a 2023 selection as part of their proposal. Tunsil would immediately upgrade Wilson's blindside protection.
- Sep 19, 2023
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