The Houston Texans, like every team in the NFL, occasionally whiff on contracts.
There are a handful of players on the Texans' current roster that could be singled out as too expensive, whether in regard to unexpectedly poor production, recurring injuries, age, or other bang-for-buck issues.
With this in mind, a recent Bleacher Report article has singled out the most overpaid player on every team's roster. But did the site get Houston's right?
Their pick: receiver Randall Cobb. Their rationale:
Cobb was rarely a focal point of the offense last season and finished his first Houston campaign with 441 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.
The Texans will need Cobb to be better in 2021, but the uncertainty surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson could thwart that.
Unfortunately, parting with Cobb is a non-starter this season. He is set to carry a cap hit of $10.5 million and has $12.3 million in dead money remaining on his deal. Houston can move on next offseason and save just over $8 million against the cap, though.
It is hard to argue with most of the logic behind the selection. The soon-to-be 31-year-old not only had injury issues in his first year with the Texans, but also struggled to find his rhythm in coordinator Tim Kelly's offense.
That being said, is he really the worst contract in Houston? We see a couple of other contenders.
You could argue that linebacker Whitney Mercilus deserves serious consideration. A mainstay on the Texans' defense, Mercilus' production has steadily and steeply declined the last few years. With Houston moving to a 4-3 scheme this season under new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith, there is always a chance the change of "scenery" will rejuvenate his play.
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Even so, will Mercilus prove worthy of the $15 million in dead cap he's occupying? That seems unlikely for a fellow soon-to-be 31-year-old who recorded just 21 combined tackles last year.
Another worthy candidate is defensive back Eric Murray. Bill O'Brien opened the bank to get the former Kansas City Chiefs DB, awarding him a three-year, $18 million contract including $10.75 million guaranteed.
As it turns out, O'Brien miscalculated in a pretty dramatic way. While a decent backup, Murray did not play up to the level of a starter. Especially a starter at the level to which he is being paid.
What makes his contract a liability is not just its face value, but how it's structured. The Texans fully guaranteed his 2020 salary, and have $6.5 million of the almost $7.5 million he's due this year guaranteed as well. As such, the Texans won't really be able to cut Murray until next year, when he has only $1.5 million guaranteed.
Outside of these three guys, there aren't too many contracts to lose sleep over.
Yes, O'Brien should have pushed for left tackle Laremy Tunsil to sign a four- or five-year deal instead of three. The value of his contract was fair, but the length was very team unfriendly.
Set to hit free agency after the 2023 season, Tunsil should still be in his prime and can push for potentially even more cash given the constant rise in market values. Something which the Texans may not be able to afford, or meaning they'd have to eat up an even bigger portion of their cap space on one player.
Which contract is worst is subjective. But is Cobbs' bad? Undeniably.
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