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Bill O’Brien denies link between Andrew Luck retirement and trading for Laremy Tunsil

Miami Dolphins Training Camp

DAVIE, FL - JULY 27: Laremy Tunsil #78 of the Miami Dolphins getting water in between practice drills during training camp at Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southern University on on July 27, 2019 in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

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A popular theory has emerged regarding the notion that the Texans overpaid for tackle Laremy Tunsil in order to ensure that quarterback Deshaun Watson doesn’t become so bruised and battered that he considers following Andrew Luck into early retirement. Texans coach Bill O’Brien was asked be reporters whether there’s a connection between trading for Tunsil and Luck leaving.

“None,” O’Brien said.

So why give up so much to get Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills?

“I think he’s smart, tough, dependable,” O’Brien said of Tunsil. “I think he’s athletic. I think he’s a guy that we scouted when he was coming out of college. We have several people here that are very familiar with him. [Director of college scouting] James Liipfert did a lot of work on him when he was in New England relative to when Laremy was in college. So, we have a lot of people, in addition to James, that are very familiar with him and we’re excited about watching him on tape and what he can bring to our offense. He’s come in here, you can tell he’s humble and hungry and he’s looking forward to being a Texan.”

Obviously, O’Brien believes Tunsil’s presence will assist Watson’s development.

“I think it’s a good addition to our roster for a lot of different reasons,” O’Brien said. “I think that when you look at Laremy, yes he is an excellent pass protector, but there’s so many other things he can do. He can run block, he’s able to get his pads down, he works well with the guys next to him whether it’s a tight end to his left or a guard to his right, he works very well with the guys next to him, he can pull out on screens. He’s a very smart player, he’s a very instinctive player and he’s played guard before. We’re not going to line him up at guard unless we had to, but he’s done that before, so he’s got a versatile skillset. I think that everyone is excited about adding him to the team.”

Perhaps too excited, because the Texans didn’t sign Tunsil to a new contract before trading for him.

“I would tell you this, I’ve heard that out there,” O’Brien said. “That question has been asked. I would never ever talk about any contract negotiations with any player, between the club and the player.”

The fact that the two sides would be at the negotiation stage after the trade happened is the problem. Once the trade occurs, the leverage swings to the player, who can push for more and more and more since the Texans gave up so much to get him.