Houston Texans: The Laremy Tunsil trade exudes bittersweetness for fans

Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans were able to land talented left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills from the Fins. Why is this a bittersweet trade? Look.

Houston Texans fans — the news of the cuts down to the 53-man roster continue to pour in as we find out which of the talent will ultimately be able to be the lucky group of men that will be representing the Deep Steel Blue, Liberty White and Battle Red this season.

The team put together what should be regarded as the worst trade in franchise history with the recent trade of Jadeveon Clowney for a third-round pick along with edge rushers Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin.

This trade is as lopsided as it gets and the Houston Texans fumbled the ball at the goal line big time when trying to fetch equal value for the talent that they’re shipping out.  It was disappointing yet disheartening that the team would give him away like that and I suspect Clowney’s numbers will appreciate under the tutelage of Pete Carroll and Ken Norton Jr.

Mingo and Martin are formidable talents but they’re not going to come close to the production of the man that they traded away.  The team should’ve waited until next offseason to trade him if they were going to do it but it seems that they wanted to rid themselves of him quickly.  He and Bill O’Brien likely did not see eye to eye and the head coach — who’s going into his sixth season — had enough of his antics.

Regardless of the emotion, you have to be prudent with the moves that you’re making because not getting a trade of this magnitude right could set back the trajectory of a franchise for years to come.  That could be the case with Clowney’s loss.

Anyway, I’ll rest my case on that for now.

Earlier today, the Houston Texans did swap Martinas Rankin and Carlos Hyde in a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs as well as trading a future 6th-round pick to the New England Patriots for cornerback Keion Crossen.   Both have the potential to help this team but doesn’t necessarily move the needle in terms of excitement.

However, another trade has surfaced with the Houston Texans being able to land two talents from the Miami Dolphins — left tackle Laremy Tunsil along with wide receiver Kenny Stills in exchange for two first-round picks (2020-21) as well as a 2021 second-rounder, Julie’n Davenport and Johnson Bademosi.

The Houston Texans slightly overpaid to get these two guys into the fray but I’m okay with it.  With Davenport being one of the odd men out on the offensive line as well as Bademosi being expendable with the talent they have in the group, especially with the rise of this year’s 7th-rounder Cullen Gillaspia — who was a former walk-on at Texas A&M and has made the final cut — so these guys were reasonable throw-ins to complete the deal.

Tunsil will be the Houston Texans left tackle of the future with him only getting better as the time passes.  I see multiple Pro Bowls in the future for him but it will be up to the team to ensure they do the right thing and re-sign him when the time is right, likely next offseason.

He’s in the 4th year of his rookie deal that will pay him $2.1 million in base salary this season with a $10.4M 5th-year option in 2020 that the Fins picked up back this Spring.

That option may be reworked into a long-term deal for Tunsil so we’ll have to keep an eye on that; but for now, I’m just glad that he’s here.

Stills is a fast, relatively young and formidable receiver who catches a lot of balls and tries to minimize his drops

Let’s dive into the numbers, shall we?

Pro Football Focus has Tunsil graded at a 79.5 as far as his pass blocking, he ranked 16th among tackles with at least 550 snaps in 2018.  His 70.4 offensive and 62.3 run block grades are acceptable and he just allowed 23 pressures — seven less than Trent Williams — which goes to show his potential to wreck shop with this team.

He also ranked 24th among tackles with at least 145 snaps in Pass Blocking Efficiency (97.3).  That’s impressive because the Dolphins offensive line as a whole was ranked 27th in PBE (81.1).

What about Stills?

Stills was graded at a 64.7 offensively last season and a 67.0 in the passing game through 745 snaps back in 2018.  He also received a 49.3 run-blocking grade when he had to do so as well.

He had three drops last season which ranks him 71st out 107 wideouts with a drop rate of 7.1 percent.  He does have some deep ball catching ability — although he’s not needed for that — where he caught two balls for 23.5 percent rate.  His yards per route run (1.27) is good for 75th, which could use some improvement.

He also has some experience in the slot as well.  He’s ranked 52nd out 75 wideouts in terms of

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slot performance.  He caught 12 out of 18 targets in the slot for 66.7 percent.  Four out the six touchdowns Stills as well as two of his three drops came in the slot last season.

The Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson reported that Stills was going to be cut or be unloaded for a fifth-rounder had this trade not happened.  It’s good for the Dolphins that they received this package and they have two guys that will vastly help improve the team’s offensive skill set.

So there you have it — after such an awful trade that was made for Clowney earlier today, the franchise attempts to make up for it by addressing their most pressing needs.  Hyde may not be the answer to help out Duke but it will interesting to see if he can wean off his 2017 season performance because this offense will be fun to watch if he does.

In all retrospect, this is not a bad deal and I’m glad the Houston Texans were able to get Tunsil.

Let’s keep an eye — go Houston Texans.

Texans: Clowney trade worst in franchise history. dark. Next

Stills caught 37 balls off 64 targets for 553 yards — 14.9 yards per catch — for a 57.8 catch percentage through 15 starts last season.

For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE and ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.