HOUSTON — The Houston Texans don’t yet know who their quarterback will be next season and beyond.
But whoever it is will be well protected with left tackle Laremy Tunsil signing a three-year $75 million extension that makes him the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL and will keep him in Houston through the 2026 season.
Tunsil was entering the final year of a three-year, $66 million contract extension he signed in 2020.
“I’m glad to be here with H-Town for another four years,” he said Wednesday. “It was very important to stay here. I consider this home.”
It is the second time Tunsil has negotiated a deal himself. He has a business team, but does not work with an agent.
“I wanted to do something that has never happened before,” he said. “Making history for the second time in a row. Nobody has ever done that besides me. I always wanted to be the leader to start something new, and that’s what I did.”
The Texans acquired Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills in a trade with Miami in August 2019, shipping their 2020 first-round pick and their picks in the first and second rounds in 2021 to the Dolphins.
Tunsil started 14 games in each of his first two seasons in Houston and was selected to the Pro Bowl in those years. He played just five games in 2021 because of a thumb injury, but bounced back last season, starting each game and earning his third Pro Bowl nod.
His strong play did not lead to many wins as the team limped to a 3-13-1 record behind inept quarterback play from Davis Mills.
Mills is under contract for two more years, but will almost certainly be replaced for the upcoming season.
The Texans have the No. 2 pick in the draft and will likely draft Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud to try and find a franchise quarterback after dealing Deshaun Watson to Cleveland last season following his trade request and legal problems.
Regardless of whose blindside Tunsil is protecting next season, his goal is to help guide the young players and help the Texans rebound after three terrible seasons.
“I view myself as the X-factor for this entire team and a mentor,” he said. “For the young guys ... I want to help those guys in any way that I can. Whenever they need me, they can hit me up. If they’ve got any questions, they can hit me up. I’m here for those guys. I’m here for this team. I’m here to contribute to the team and help them to win games also.”
He’s excited to play for new coach DeMeco Ryans, who spent six seasons as a star linebacker on the team.
“I believe this organization is going to turn it around quickly,” Tunsil said. “This organization is on the rise, especially getting a guy like DeMeco Ryans in this building. He’s a young, energy guy, younger coach, and he was ... a player here, too. So, getting a guy like that coming into the building means a lot. We’re trying to get things turned around.”