Details are now emerging on the five-year contract the Houston Texans and running back Arian Foster have agreed upon, and it stands to make Foster a cornerstone of the Texans' offense:
Arian Foster joins AP and CJ atop RB $$ ranks. $43.5M over 5 years, $20.75M guar, $30m in 1st 3 years of deal, $18M in 2012. #insideslant— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 5, 2012
The "AP and CJ" referenced would be the Vikings' Adrian Peterson and Titans' Chris Johnson, both of whom set the standard of pay for premiere running backs in the NFL. That's sure to draw some attention across the league, especially among the Ravens and Bears, who are set to try and resign Ray Rice and Matt Forte, respectively.
While this is a huge deal for the Texans, concern has to immediately arise when considering the weight of this deal and the need to resign outside linebacker Mario Williams. Battle Red Blog has some quick-math analysis, and while it's not impossible, it's also not looking great:
A little back o' the envelope math suggests that $6.925M is about the smallest cap hit that the contract could have in 2012. With $20.75M guaranteed, that would be $4.125M/year amortized. To get to $18M paid in 2012, you'd need a $14M signing bonus, working out to $2.8M/year over the 5 years.
Taking that a step further, $30M over the first three likely means closer to $6M in each of the next two seasons (nearly $9M cap hit each) or 2013 structured a lot like 2012 (roughly $7M cap hit) and 2013 with around $8M in base salary (roughly $11M cap hit).
Point being, I don't think this contract improves the odds of signing Mario by any stretch, but I might have been the slightest bit hasty in saying that the door was completely closed if the the 2012 hit really is less than $7M.
For more on the Houston Texans, check out Battle Red Blog and SB Nation's NFL page.