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Three Best, Three Worst Contracts for the Houston Texans

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 18, 2013

Three Best, Three Worst Contracts for the Houston Texans

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    The Houston Texans have a lot of stars making a lot of money.

    In sorting through the best and worst contracts for each team in the division, it's clear the Texans have boxed themselves into a corner with some big-money deals. They already survived one tight cap season in 2012 and now have to brace for another in 2013.

    Here are the three best and three worst deals (and what they can do about them) on the books for the Texans.

3 Best: J.J. Watt

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    Length: Four years

    Total Value: $11.23 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $6.67 million ($3.3 still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $1.4 million

    Estimated Cap number: $3.1 million

    Peak Cap Number: $3.6 million

    Years Remaining: Two

     

    It's almost cheating to get the best player in the NFL for around $3 million a year, but that's the advantage of the "rookie deal."

    Watt is a devastating player and as good as they come.

    The Texans get him on the cheap for two more seasons, but then they had better be prepared to open the purse strings, because Watt is going to be expensive.

Duane Brown

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    Length: Seven years

    Total Value: $56.2 million

    Total Guaranteed Money: $22.08 million ($10 million still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $2.5 million

    Estimated Cap number: $5 million

    Peak Cap Number: $9.75 million

    Years Remaining: Six

     

    It's rare to list such a mammoth deal as one of the best contracts a team can have, but there's no question Brown's qualifies. His cap figures are hard to calculate because of the way his bonuses work, but Texans aren't paying too much for him in 2013.

    Brown is unquestionably a top-tier left tackle; possibly even the very best in football. He has a manageable cap figure in the short run and should be a quality player throughout the life of his contract.

    Re-signing him before the year was a stroke of brilliance, and he rewarded the team with another Pro Bowl season.

Kareem Jackson

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    Length: Five years

    Total Value: $13.1 million

    Total Guaranteed Money: $10.35 million (roughly $2.5 million still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $995,000

    Estimated Cap number: roughly $2.4 million

    Peak Cap Number: $2.9 million

    Years Remaining: One with a club-option year

     

    Raise your hand if you ever thought Kareem Jackson would make a list of best contracts for the Texans.

    The fact is that he played terrific in 2012, and it's nearly impossible to find a good starting corner who is making under $1 million a season.

    The Texans have him under club control for two more seasons.

3 Worst: Matt Schaub

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    Length: Five years

    Total Value: $66.5 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $17.5 million ($14 still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $7.25 million

    Estimated Cap number: $14.5 million

    Peak Cap Number: $19 million

    Years Remaining: Four

     

    The Texans extended Schaub on the first day of the regular season. For about two-and-a-half months, it seemed like a fine idea.

    Suddenly, the deal looks like a nightmare. Schaub looked old or hurt or just confused for the final eight weeks of the season, and fans are clamoring for his head.

    The problem is the Texans couldn't afford to get rid of him if they wanted to.

    They are locked into Schaub for at least two more seasons. He'll be 32 next year and may already be past his prime.

    This deal could look really bad in two more seasons.

Johnathan Joseph

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    Length: Five years

    Total Value: $48.75 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $12.5 million ($7.5 still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $7.5 million

    Estimated Cap number: $10 million

    Peak Cap Number: $11 million

    Years Remaining: Three

     

    Don't confuse a bad contract with a bad player. Joseph can be an elite corner when he's healthy, but he struggled in 2012 as injuries mounted.

    He turns 29 next year and is slated to eat up $10 million on the cap.

    If he's healthy and plays to his ability, this is decent deal; but that's a lot of money to be paying a 29-year-old corner with injury questions.

    The Texans didn't get their money's worth out of Joseph in 2012, and his cap number is inching upward as he ages.

    This may be a bad fit on the list, and it's fair to argue he'll rebound. For right now, however, it's a dangerous deal.

Kevin Walter

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    Length: Five years

    Total Value: $21.5 million

    Total Roster Bonus: $5 million ($2 million still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $3.5 million

    Estimated Cap number: $4.5 million

    Peak Cap Number: $4.5 million

    Years Remaining: Two

     

    Is Walter one of the 10 best players on the Texans?

    No.

    But he is one of the 10 best paid Texans.

    Walter's deal is bad because the team could cut him, but they'd only save about $2.5 million on the cap if they did.

    That's not quite enough of a break to let him go, but in the mean time, they are paying nearly $5 million on the cap for a glorified slot guy.

    Walter does a lot of little things for the Texans. He runs good routes. He blocks. He's a leader.

    All those little things have to add up to a lot to make him worth the money.

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