Texans franchise Robinson

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The Texans placed the franchise player designation on unrestricted free agent cornerback Dunta Robinson, the team announced Thursday. Robinson is the first player in team history on whom the Texans have used the franchise tag.

The team placed the 2009 franchise player designation for right of first refusal/draft choice compensation. The franchise tag guarantees a player, upon signing the franchise tender offer, a one-year salary equal to the average of the five highest-paid players at his position in the NFL or 120 percent of his prior year's salary, whichever is greater. For a cornerback, that average is $9.957 million in 2009.

"Dunta is an important part of our team and organization," general manager Rick Smith said. "We worked extremely hard to try to get a long-term contract done with him; however, we were unable to reach an agreement. We hope to reach a long-term deal that ensures that Dunta will remain a Houston Texan for years to come."

A player designated with the non-exclusive franchise tag has until the Tuesday following Week 10 of the regular season (Nov. 17, 2009) to sign an offer sheet from another club. If a franchised player signs with a new team, his former club will receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.

Robinson (5-10, 182) is the franchise's all-time leader in interceptions with 13 in his five-year career. He tied for second on the team in 2008 with two interceptions despite missing the first five games of the season while recovering from a severe knee injury suffered late in the 2007 season.

{QUOTE}The Texans' defense saw marked improvement after Robinson returned to the starting lineup for the final six games, allowing 11 fewer points per game than in the first 10 games. Houston went 5-1 in games that Robinson started last season.

"We're happy we get to keep him in the fold for another year," defensive coordinator Frank Bush said. "We know what type of player he is. We like the way he plays football. We think he's going to really help this team, help this defense, so we're excited to get him back."

The 10th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of South Carolina, Robinson has played in 68 games with 63 starts in five seasons. In addition to his franchise-record 13 interceptions, he ranks fourth in team history with 277 career solo tackles, and his 331 total tackles ranks fifth.

Bush said that the hard-hitting Robinson, an emotional leader within the Texans locker room, epitomizes the attacking style that he expects to see out of his defense next season.

"That's what he brings," Bush said. "He brings passion. He's a guy that's accountable. He's tough. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and has a burning desire to win. You want him to be around; you want him to affect the rest of the players with that type of attitude. You want that type of attitude to permeate throughout your defense. We're excited as hell to get him back."

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