John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Houston Texans have signed star running back Arian Foster to a new five year deal. Terms are still being hammered out at this time but it will almost certainly be more than the $7.75 million per year that Marshawn Lynch was given in his deal yesterday.
Foster, a restricted free agent, was expected to receive the Texans franchise tag until now. This was because Foster in just two years has become one of the league’s premier rushers including winning the rushing title in 2010. Last season he rushed for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns, caught 53 passes for 617 yards and two touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl for the second time.
With this deal, the team is now free to use the franchise tag on someone else but must do so by 4pm EST today. At this time, it is unlikely to be their other top free agent – defensive end/outside linebacker Mario Williams – as the team is currently flirting with the salary cap. The most likely option is kicker Neil Rackers as he is the cheapest option and would give the Texans an easier path to re-signing the likes of Williams, tight end Joel Dreessen and center Chris Myers.
We’ll keep an eye on news of this deal and the money involved as this could be used as a blueprint for any deal that may be sought by other top free agent running backs Ray Rice and Matt Forte.
UPDATE: The Texans and Foster have agreed to a new five-year deal. It is a $43.5 million deal that includes $20.75 million guaranteed.