As We All Await Lamar Jackson's Fate, Agent-Less Laremy Tunsil Becomes The NFL's Highest-Paid Offensive Tackle For A 2nd Time
Tough day for the narrative that players can't represent themselves under any circumstances. If I were in an NFL player's shoes, not gonna lie, I'd try to put all the awkward business shit on somebody else's plate and pay them a cut of the earnings.
Obviously, the reality of pro football is the business and personal sides overlap. It's a violent, emotional sport where your future perpetually hangs in the balance. One play can change everything. Year-to-year uncertainty. Head on a constant swivel on the field and off to stay healthy and secure as much money as possible at every turn while you're still able to play. So much is at stake all the time.
...Which is why you have to respect Laremy Tunsil so much. Not only has he performed at an elite level at the critical position of left tackle, but he's also personally negotiated and earned two mega contracts out of the Houston Texans.
In a league where owners wield so much power and often try to diminish players, Tunsil has held his ground as his own negotiator. Damn can this man close a deal or what!?
When he entered the 2016 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss, the infamous gas mask bong video leaked and caused Tunsil's draft stock to fall. Barstool visionaries Big Cat and PFT actually knew that gas mask was a sign that Tunsil had exemplary stamina that would serve him well at the next level. Talk about an all-time take that doesn't need to be pardoned whatsoever in retrospect.
Did our guys nail it, or did our guys nail it? Laremy Tunsil only fell to 13th overall in that draft, so even then, it wasn't a major draft day free fall. This was years before most of America was comfortable with weed. If all that happened this year, I feel like it wouldn't be nearly as big of a deal, especially if this news from 2022 was to be any indication:
All Tunsil could do in the wake of that whole fiasco was keep pressing on and carve out a strong career. By his third season with the Miami Dolphins, it was clear Tunsil was coming into his own. Then came a trade that'd have such a crazy, years-long lingering impact on both Miami and Houston.
The inflection points of Tunsil's career and how he might have set the stage for a Dolphins Super Bowl champion are mind-blowing to think about. While the Texans have to be happy with how Tunsil has performed to date, I feel like Miami couldn't have possibly gotten more out of a trade for a franchise left tackle than they did. Straight-up ridiculous.
I have no idea if Lamar Jackson has any relationship whatsoever with Tunsil. Might want to dial that dude up and figure out what his secret is. Totally understand that negotiating even at a cornerstone, high-value position like left tackle is wayyyy different than the fully-guaranteed, even pricier QB contract Lamar is after. Nevertheless, Tunsil clearly has the magic touch and has reset the market twice. Put his nuts on the table, was firm about what he was worth, didn't budge, and now he's rich beyond his wildest dreams for a second time.
Apparently Lamar has a video coming out soon…?
Maybe that'll shed more light on where he's at in terms of his future with the Ravens. Whatever the case may be, perhaps we shouldn't write off Lamar's ability to secure the historic contract he's looking for whether it's in Baltimore or elsewhere in light of what Tunsil has just pulled off.
Anyway, one of the byproducts of Tunsil's latest extension is the Texans trading Brandin Cooks to the Cowboys.
With the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, everyone's expecting Houston to select a quarterback. The hope is the new signal-caller and face of the franchise can help this struggling organization turn the corner at long last. It's been a shit show since the Bill O'Brien era, but hey, at least they don't have Deshaun Watson anymore!
Seems like the Texans are counting on their new QB to elevate the supporting cast around him, or they'll explore bargain free agents and draft options to put more playmakers on the roster. One thing Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson or Will Levis won't have to worry about is protection on their blind side. Tunsil is the anchor there for years to come.
Check out my last mock draft in which Bryce Young goes second overall to Houston, and look at the TikTok vid below that to see why Anthony Richardson is my QB1 and second on my top-100 big board. Another post-free agency mock will come sometime after pro days wrap up in the next couple weeks. Then we're really in the thick of DRAFT SZN.