Laremy Tunsil, Lane Johnson, NFL's Top-Paid OL After Texans LT's $66M Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2020

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 15:  Laremy Tunsil #78 of the Houston Texans watches from the sideline during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Laremy Tunsil reset the offensive lineman market after reportedly agreeing to a three-year extension with the Houston Texans on Friday. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Tunsil will get $66 million, $57.9 million of which is guaranteed. His $22 million annual salary makes him the highest-paid lineman in the NFL, moving him ahead of Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson.

Here are the top 10 linemen in average salary, per Spotrac:

  • 1. Laremy Tunsil (Houston Texans), $22 million
  • 2. Lane Johnson (Philadelphia Eagles), $18 million
  • T3. Trent Brown (Oakland Raiders), $16.5 million
  • T3. Anthony Castonzo (Indianapolis Colts), $16.5 million 
  • 5. Taylor Lewan (Tennessee Titans), $16 million
  • 6. Nate Solder (New York Giants), $15.5 million
  • 7. Brandon Scherff (Washington Redskins), $15 million
  • 8. Joe Thuney (New England Patriots), $14.8 million
  • 9. D.J. Humphries (Arizona Cardinals), $14.6 million
  • 10. Jake Matthews (Atlanta Falcons), $14.5 million

The Athletic's Ross Tucker questioned whether the Texans ended up paying more than they had to in order to keep Tunsil under contract beyond the 2020 season:

Ross Tucker @RossTuckerNFL

Laremy Tunsil got $4M per year more than any other offensive lineman EVER because Bill O'Brien didn't get him signed at time of the trade when he had leverage because Bill O'Brien doesn't know what he's doing. As usual.

Houston's mishandling of the situation could have a domino effect for other teams since an elite offensive tackle either about to hit free agency or already a free agent would presumably want to eclipse Tunsil's salary or come close to it.

Trent Williams will be one of the first test cases. The 31-year-old is entering the final year of his deal with the Washington Redskins. 

NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay reported Washington remains in contact with multiple teams about a possible trade involving the seven-time Pro Bowler.

Williams is six years older than Tunsil, so hitting that $22 million number will be tough. But this will likely be his last opportunity for a big payday. Johnson's $18 million hit might be the baseline for Williams' demands.

Ronnie Stanley, David Bakhtiari, Brandon Scherff, Joe Thuney and Taylor Decker are among the other linemen poised to enter the 2021 free-agent class. Tunsil's extension is bound to impact what kind of deal they'll be looking to sign.

It may not be long before one or more of his peers joins Tunsil in the $20 million club.


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