Texans tackle Tytus Howard seeks new contract, hopes to start talks ‘the sooner, the better, I want to finish my career here’

Texans right tackle Tytus Howard is entering the final year of his contract and is due $13.2 million under a fifth-year club option

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Tytus Howard #71 of the Houston Texans runs onto the field during introductions against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) (Cooper Neill, 2022 Cooper Neill)

HOUSTON – Rolling up his sleeves and balling up his fists, Texans right offensive tackle Tytus Howard is always ready for a battle at the line of scrimmage.

At a powerful 6-foot-5, 322 pounds, the former first-round draft pick from Alabama State plays the game with an aggressive mentality and never backs down an inch.

It’s that kind of competitive mettle that has positioned Howard for a potential new deal.

Although the Texans already have Howard under contract through the 2023 season under a $13.2 million fifth-year club option they exercised last year, ideally, they would extend him on a long-term deal because he and Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil, another expensive contract negotiation the team is facing on the near horizon, have formed one of the top tackle combinations in the league.

“Mosly likely this offseason, go ahead and get it done,” Howard said. “We haven’t started yet, but, hopefully, we can work toward getting something done. The sooner, the better. A shared goal. I want to finish my career here.”

The most expensive right tackle contracts in the NFL include the New Orleans Saints’ Ryan Ramczyk ($96 million total, $19.2 million a year), the Minnesota Vikings’ Brian O’Neill ($92.5 million total, $18.5 million a year), the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lane Johnson ($72 million, $18 million per year), the Indianapolis Colts’ Braden Smith ($70 million, $17.5 million per year) and the Carolina Panthers’ Taylor Moton ($85 million, $17 million per year).

It’s unclear how the Texans will approach a potential negotiation with Howard considering that Tunsil wants a new deal that resets the offensive tackle market to top San Francisco 49ers All-Pro Trent Williams’ $23 million annual average. Could the Texans, who have $47 million in available salary cap space, do both deals this offseason? Possibly. Or perhaps general manager Nick Caserio will wait on one or even both and let the respective situations play out. It’s yet to be determined.

“Got to keep us together, you got to,” Howard said. “We’re the best tandem in the league. It’s not even a debate.”

Howard played 997 snaps last season and allowed just three sacks. He had a 70.2 Pro Football Focus pass blocking grade with nine penalties, five quarterback hits allowed and 38 total pressures, per the analytics site.

He stepped in at left guard when rookie Kenyon Green was sidelined with an ankle injury. Primarily, though, Howard played his natural right tackle spot.

“Tytus has done a fantastic job,” offensive line coach George Warhop said. “As you guys remember, even last year when I first got here, I said Tytus is a guy that can play multiple spots. He can be a good player inside.

" He can be a good player outside, and he’s just proven that. He’s been very good for us a tackle. He went in there at guard. He’s been very good for us in there. I think Tytus is just a testament to the player he is.”

A former high school quarterback and walk-on who gained 100 pounds to emerge as an NFL draft prospect and Senior Bowl all-star game standout, Howard is a former all-rookie selection.

To play his preferred position was significant for Howard.

“It helped me a lot that I was able to play one position most of the season,” he said. “I felt this was my best year. I’m looking forward to building off that. It’s been a grind. They believed in me to play right tackle again. I stepped forward and got the job done at a high level. “

Howard thoroughly enjoyed playing with this configuration of players as the line formed a close bond with regular dinners, including a recent hearty meal at Prime 112 in Miami, Fla., paid for by Green.

“This is a good group, the best group I’ve played in,” Howard said. “I love these guys, closest group I’ve ever been on.”

Of course, who coaches the Texans is undetermined after coach Lovie Smith was fired after a 3-13-1 season.

Howard said the poor record falls on everyone, not just on Smith.

“He’s our coach, we’ve got to go out & perform,” Howard said. “We only won three games. Yeah, we’re part at fault in that..Two years in a row, we had a coach fired. I think we should take some ownership in that also.”

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the business. He’s done a lot of things for us to help us grow as players…I’m excited for the future of this team and we got to support Nick in every decision he makes.”

To go 7-25-1 over the past two seasons is deeply disappointing to Howard.

“We just didn’t perform to our highest level,” Howard said. “We’ve got to do right by our coaches and right by us as players with a winning culture. We’ve got to win. We were winning when I first got here. We got to get back to that. This city breathes football. We got the Astros winning, but it’s nothing like when the Texans win. If we can get back to that brand of football and that culture we had, it would be good.”

What’s next for Howard is some well-deserved time off before getting back to lifting weights and training.

“Just really take a break and chill with my family, take some time and back to the grind,” Howard said. “Whoever the coach is, got to do my best and be in the best shape possible.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com

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