Originally posted on NFL News & Rumors  |  Last updated 9/23/12

HOUSTON - AUGUST 31: Defensive end Connor Barwin #98 of the Houston Texans goes around guard Artis Hicks #79 of the Minnesota Vikings at Reliant Stadium on August 31, 2009 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

With their starter at both quarterback (Matt Schaub) and offensive tackle (Duane Brown) locked up long term, the Texans are reportedly contemplating their franchise tag options in the off-season, and as it stands right now, the most obvious candidate for that role is outside linebacker Connor Barwin.

Houston reportedly tried to extend Barwin before the season started, but after a talks were tabled, the Texans turned their sights to Schaub, agreeing to major contract extension with their franchise quarterback just after their opening day victory over the Dolphins.

The Texans will undoubtedly try to reach an accord with Barwin on a new contract to avoid having to use their franchise tag on him, but if they’re unable to do so, the cost for the tag shouldn’t be too prohibitive, as it only came to $8.8 million for this year.

That said, a long term agreement is in Houston’s best interest as they can spread out the salary cap hit over several seasons and free up valuable space for a player or two in free agency that could potentially push the Texans deeper into the post-season.

Barwin, 25, is now in his fourth NFL season, and has tallied 69 total tackles and 16 sacks in 35 games played.

©2012 NFL News & Rumors. All Rights Reserved.

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