The New York Giants and Houston Texans had the same idea on Wednesday morning, as both clubs knocked out extensions with their upper-echelon offensive tackles. Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas received a five-year deal to stick in New York, while the Texans gave right tackle Tytus Howard a three-year pact. Now that Thomas and Howard have contracts in place, who’s up next at offensive tackle?
Andrew Thomas, Tytus Howard Contract Details
For the Giants, Thomas’ extension represents the culmination of an offseason that saw general manager Joe Schoen lock in starting quarterback Daniel Jones, find a solution for running back Saquon Barkley, and extend defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence.
Thomas will receive $117.5 million over a five-year term, and his $65 million in full guarantees represents a new high-water mark among offensive tackles. Thomas was still under contract for two more seasons thanks to his fifth-year option, but New York acted about as quickly as it could to get him under contract.
The fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Thomas is a testament to allowing high-end prospects time to develop. He struggled immensely in his first pro campaign but has since become one of the NFL’s best tackles. Thomas played more than 1,100 snaps last season but allowed just 23 pressures and four sacks, according to PFF’s charting.
Meanwhile, Howard — who will collect $56 million on a three-year accord — has been something of a jack of all trades for the Texans. He was Houston’s primary right tackle during his first two seasons, then played left guard in 2021 before shifting back to RT in 2022. Howard has played at least one snap at every offensive line position except center.
Howard will reach free agency again in 2027, when he’ll still be only 31 years old. Because offensive tackles have a longer shelf life than most NFL positions, Howard could be in a position to land another significant contract. The fact that Houston gave fellow offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil a three-year extension earlier this offseason likely helped Howard lock in a shorter contract and give himself a chance at a third deal.
Who Could Challenge Laremy Tunsil at the Top of the OT Market?
Thomas is four years younger than Tunsil, but he still came up $1.5 million short of matching Tunsil’s $25 million annual salary. While the Giants gave Thomas a lot of guaranteed money, they likely view the contract negotiations as a win since they kept Thomas at $23.5 million per season.
Elite offensive tackles rarely reach free agency, so the next OT with a chance to reach Tunsil’s average annual value will likely come via an extension. The most likely candidate? Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs.
Wirfs has been one of the NFL’s best right tackles since he entered the league as Thomas’ 2020 draftmate. Right tackles are historically paid less than their left tackle brethren, but Wirfs is scheduled to move to the blindside after Tampa Bay released Donovan Smith this offseason.
Wirfs has a first-team All-Pro berth on his résumé, something Thomas can’t boast. Still, Wirfs may need to spend one season at LT before getting the chance to usurp Tunsil at $25 million. If he agrees to an extension before the regular season, Wirfs will likely come in below Thomas unless the Buccaneers want to make a statement.