Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 1/19/12
Texans owner Bob McNair said Thursday he plans to discuss a long-term contract with star running back Arian Foster this offseason, and he hopes to re-sign linebacker Mario Williams, who missed the majority of the 2011 season with a torn pectoral muscle. "We'll be talking with his agent," said McNair about Foster's situation. "We'll see if we can't work out a long term deal for Arian. He's had a great two years and we said we'll talk about a long term deal and that's what we'll do." Foster, who gained over 1,200 yards in just 13 games this season after leading the league with over 1,600 yards last year, is a restricted free agent. McNair also reiterated that the team hopes to bring back Williams, an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Williams played in just five games this year before requiring surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. He missed the final three games of the 2010 season with a sports hernia. But McNair said that Williams has healed from his latest injury: "Mario said he could have played in the Cincinnati (playoff game). He was on injured reserve, though, and we couldn't bring him back. Certainly (retaining Williams) is going to be a focus of ours. We want to keep him and we're going to do everything we can to do that." It is yet to be determined if the Texans will be able to sign their primary free agents, including Williams and extend Foster because the NFL's salary cap is not expected to rise much above the current 120 million. But the Texans may ask players to re-structure deals to make room under the cap. In Williams' case, it's unclear what his market value will be once free agency begins in March. "It's just a question of where teams stand and how much room they have, I guess," said McNair. McNair also said that franchising Williams is out of the question since his tag number would be nearly 23 million for 2012. "We've been spending at the cap and, in some cases, over," McNair said about the club's flexibility to sign free agents. "We have limitations there as to what we might be able to do. We're going to use our money to keep our core players that are the foundation of the team." The Texans will look into free agency after they attempt to bring back their own players whose contract has expired. Besides Williams and Foster, the other primary free agents include center Chris Myers, kicker Neil Rackers, tight end Joel Dreessen, guard Mike Brisiel and cornerback Jason Allen. In terms of his management team, while McNair did not commit to extending the contracts of coach Gary Kubiak and General Manager Rick Smith, it is expected that each will get at least one year added to their current agreement. Kubiak currently has one season remaining on his deal. McNair also said that a team may still call about defensive coordinator Wade Phillips although no team has done so since Tampa bay requested permission in the first week of January. "I haven't had any contact with anyone about any of our coaches," said McNair. "I think this is the best spot for (Phillips). He doesn't have anything to prove in terms of being a head coach. He's back home now and he's close to family... he's with a young team. I think all of those things are important to him."
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