The Texans plan to go forward with Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil and have informed him of that stance, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
That clarity of his status followed unprompted, exploratory calls from teams wanting to trade for the former Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick.
Stonewalling pass rushers is what sets Tunsil apart from other blockers around the league.
Tunsil is extremely athletic with polished technique and outstanding size and strength.
What Tunsil wasn't last season was healthy and available due to undergoing surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb suffered against the New England Patriots. The injury ended his season as he remained on injured reserve and him not returning as soon as former coach David Culley originally projected, a four-week recovery estimate, raised some questions about his future with the Texans given his three-year, $66 million contract and being due a $17.85 million base salary in 2022 and $18.5 million in 2023.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio met with Tunsil after the season, but made no commitment or lack of commitment toward the former Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick when asked about his status at the NFL scouting combine.
Now, Tunsil has that commitment from the organization, per sources.
“I don’t want to get into some of the things we talked about, but we’ll see how it goes here once we get moving," Caserio said. "We’re kind of going through the whole team-building process as we speak. So, we’ve got a lot of players that are under contract, so we’ll be pretty busy here the next couple of weeks. But you know, Laremy’s under contract. He’s been a good player for us, so we’ll kind of see how it all goes.”
The Texans hold the third overall pick with some mock drafts projecting Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal to them, or North Carolina State offensive tackle Ickey Ekwonu.
When the Texans introduced new offensive line coach George Warhop, he said he hadn't spoken yet with Tunsil.
“I will reach out," Warhop said. "You got to understand. It’s been a whirlwind at this point. We’ll have plenty of time to talk. So, at this point, I’m watching tape. We’re talking about offense. So, I’ve barely had enough time to call my wife at this point. So, I’m going to love Laremy Tunsil, but I love my wife. So, I’m always going to make sure I’m calling her. When I get to him, I will get to him.”