US Sports Veteran
On Saturday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Houston Texans reached a four-year, $160 million contract extension with Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston made extending Watson a priority after locking up left tackle Laremy Tunsil and linebacker Zach Cunningham to lucrative deals. The Texans have their star quarterback signed through the end of the 2025 season.
Sources: The #Texans and franchise QB Deshaun Watson have agreed to terms on a huge new extension worth $160M over 4 new years. Houston locks up its QB through 2025 – and Watson gets paid… with a chance to get paid again soon. 💰 💰 💰
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 5, 2020
Houston drafted Watson with the 12th overall pick in 2017, making him the third quarterback taken. Kansas City took Patrick Mahomes with the tenth pick while Chicago infamously traded up for Mitchell Trubisky at second overall. Houston picked up Watson’s fifth-year option in the spring, meaning the Clemson product’s rookie deal doesn’t end until after the 2021 season.
Watson’s new deal comes with a lot of perks. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Watson’s contract carries a total value of $177.54 million, with roughly $111 million in guaranteed money. The extension pays out $39 million in annual salary, which will make Watson the league’s highest-paid player during those four seasons.
When Watson’s extension ends, he’ll be 30 years old. That gives the former College Football National Champion time to sign another hefty contract before aging out of his prime. In comparison, Mahomes won’t become a free agent until after the 2031 season, at which point he’ll be 36. Mahomes signed a ten-year extension with the Chiefs earlier this offseason.
Watson didn’t become Houston’s starter the moment he stepped in the door. Instead, Tom Savage opened 2017 at the helm. After a crushing 29-7 Week 1 loss, Watson took control. He piloted the Texans to three wins in the next six games, scoring 20 total touchdowns as a starter before tearing his ACL. Luckily, the Georgia native rebounded well and authored back-to-back Pro Bowl campaigns in 2018 and 2019.
In Watson’s 37 starts, the Texans are 24-13. Houston won the last two AFC South division titles and advanced to the Divisional Round of the playoffs last season. While Watson isn’t on par with the league’s top tier quarterbacks, he’s knocking on the door of the top-five players at his position. The Texans hope he’ll develop into an MVP candidate in the coming years.
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