The Way We Hear It: Do Houston Texans or holdout LT Duane Brown hold the upper hand?

August 1, 2017 GMT

Veteran holdouts in the National Football League are often much ado about nothing. According to our sources in Houston, the current standoff between the Texans and left tackle Duane Brown isn’t one of those.

Brown wants more money, and so far, the Texans haven’t budged. There is a case to be made for either side.

Brown is in the fifth year of a six-year, $53.4 million deal that could pay him $9.4 million this year and $9.75 million next year, but none of it is guaranteed.

Yes, he has already collected over $34 million on the deal, but his two remaining years make him the 18th-highest-paid tackle in the league, behind players including Russell Okung, Eric Fisher, Riley Reiff, Matt Kalil, Anthony Castonzo and Branden Albert, to name a few.

Yes, Brown is underpaid.

On the other hand, while Brown was one of the premier left tackles in football from 2008 through 2014, including Pro Bowls in ’12, ’13 and ’14, he has battled nagging injuries the past two seasons, missing two games in 2015 and four more last season while playing hurt a good part of the time as well.

Needless to say he has not played to his Pro Bowl level in a while. With cost and cap certainty for at least two more seasons, how wise would it be for the Texans to extend Brown, who turns 32 at the end of August?

This much is certain: even the current version of Brown is one of the NFL’s better left tackles on an offensive line that features little else resembling star power and will be protecting either the inexperienced and athletically challenged Tom Savage or rookie Deshaun Watson this season.

The Texans can still be contenders this year, but their window isn’t exactly opening wider these days and may in fact be closing a bit with all the free agency defections on defense and J.J. Watt’s balky back.

Brown is clearly serious, and we’re hearing the Texans are concerned they may have to blink first.

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