By: John McClain
The Texans have reached an agreement on a five-year contract with running back Arian Foster.
They are still ironing out final details, and terms were not available this morning.
General Manager Rick Smith and vice president of football administration Chris Olsen have been negotiating daily with agent Mike McCartney on the long-term deal for Foster, who would have been a third-year restricted free agent.
"I've got to give a lot of credit to Rick and Chris for getting this done," McCartney said. "Rick and I had kept up a good dialogue for the last two years. Then we started in earnest after the combine. We put our egos aside, and over the weekend, we got within striking distance."
By agreeing with Foster, the Texans won't have to franchise him. The deadline for using the franchise tag is 3 p.m. today.
Foster, who made $525,000 last season, rushed for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He caught 53 passes for 617 yards and two touchdowns and made the Pro Bowl for the second time.
In the playoff victory over Cincinnati and the loss at Baltimore, Foster was at his best with 51 carries for 285 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 51 yards.
"As you can imagine, Arian is thrilled," McCartney said. "He never talked about his contract. He handled it in a first-class way. I think the Texans made it a priority to reward that.
"Arian loves Houston and the team. He didn't want to leave. I'm just thrilled for Arian."
The Texans will continue to negotiate with their players who'll be unrestricted free agents next week, including outside linebacker Mario Williams, center Chris Myers, right guard Mike Brisiel, tight end Joel Dreessen and kicker Neil Rackers.
The Texans won't be franchising Williams because he'll cost $22 million against the salary cap. They're hoping to get him to sign a new deal before he hits the open market. If he does, there's a good chance Williams will come the highest-paid defensive player in history.
Defensive end Julius Peppers got $42 million guaranteed from the Bears three years ago. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth got $41 million guaranteed from Washington.
With so many teams having so much room under the salary cap, several are expected to get into a bidding war for Williams if the Texans can't sign him.