With the flurry of Texans signings on Thursday, one name that never came across the wire was Vonta Leach. He of course had a lot to do with Arian Foster's NFL-leading rushing performance in 2010, but a new deal could not be reached in time for this bizarre "CBA Purgatory" we're now mired in.
With the secrecy present in most NFL contract negotiations, we are kind of on our own as far as how things are going with Leach's chances of remaining in Houston. This is where we turn to the maddening yet whimsical world of Twitter. A place where NFL players can interact with their fans, and with each other.
Of course, these Twitter updates by Leach are nothing more than that. It seems as if he's letting his agent do all the work, and accepting whatever outcome pops out the other end. That's a typical way for players to handle contract negotiations, of course - I just wish he seemed a bit more demonstrative in his desire to stay in Houston.
Here are some sample Tweets from Leach's timeline over the past few weeks:
"I love the fans Its the front office who has to make that decision"
"@ArianFoster thanks man I want to be in Houston but they have to want mr Herr"
"@tcwyrick it going great ready to get this CBa done and see where will I be playing this year"
Then there is this one, right after the end of the season:
"Thank u texan fans for a great 5 years I may have played my last game in Houston and it was a hell of a ride"
That doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.
I want Leach to come back, and no doubt his teammates want him back too. Does he want to come back? I guess we won't know until he signs a deal here, or if he signs elsewhere we'll have to see if the money would have been a reasonable amount to retain him.
Fullbacks are not pieces that can't be replaced, but the one thing the Texans have going for them is their running game. Leach should be (and probably is) their biggest offensive priority. To keep Leach, the Texans are going to have no choice but to overpay a bit. Leach will want to be the highest-paid FB in the league, and he should be. He is 29, and in the prime of his career.
Maybe it's because I'm a cynic at heart, but I feel like there's a much better chance that he leaves the Texans now that they weren't able to reach a deal before (eventual) free agency. Leach said himself that he would test the free agent waters if they weren't able to make a deal prior to Thursday.
Unless Vonta is insane, whatever number his people have in mind can't possibly be too much to pay for the Texans to lose their running game mojo. Let's not forget, he is a fullback. It's not a glamour position. But how much is too much?