Chris Johnson, a first-round pick in 2008 and the NFL rushing king in his second season, is underpaid. He’s under contract for 2011. And he’s holding out.
Arian Foster, undrafted in 2009 and the NFL rushing king in his second season, is underpaid. He wasn’t under contract for 2011.
But he won’t be holding out.
The Texans have announced that Foster, an exclusive-rights free agent (i.e., not a free agent), signed his one-year tender for the third-year minimum, which under the new labor deal has increased to $525,000.
Foster previously has said he’s not worried about the situation, and that he believes the team will take care of him. But if he tears an ACL or suffers some other injury from which he has trouble recovering quickly, the team will move on to the next man. And if the next man gets it done like Foster got it done, Foster could be done.
Besides, without fullback Vonta Leach on the team, it could be harder for Foster to stay on track for a big payday.
On one hand, we admire his willingness to play for whatever the team will pay. On the other hand, he needs to realize that NFL running backs get used up and spit out quickly. Unlike Johnson, Foster had a chance to take a stand without being fined or losing a year of credit toward free agency.
Given that Foster concealed a knee injury last season because he feared losing his job, it could be that Foster has yet to develop the kind of swagger regarding his skills that he needs in order to get the most out of them that he can, financially. The reality is that, if he lets the Texans piecemeal him over the next few years, with the highest restricted free agency tender in 2012 and the franchise tag in 2013, Foster will soon get to a point where he’s just another low-tread veteran hoping to scrape out a deal worth $3 million per year.
The Texans also announced that the following players have signed with the team: guard Mike Brisiel, tackle Rashad Butler, quarterback Matt Leinart, defensive tackle Damione Lewis, and guard Kasey Studdard. The Texans also signed undrafted free agents defensive tackle Guy Miller, defensive end Scooter Berry, and linebacker Matt Marcorelle.