The Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson have begun “very preliminary” extension discussions, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Houston would like to have a new deal in place for Watson by the start of the regular season.
Head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien already crossed one item of his to-do list earlier today by signing left tackle Laremy Tunsil to a record-breaking extension, and Watson is obviously the next Texans player in line for a fresh contract. Like Tunsil’s deal, Watson’s extension figures to reach extraordinary heights.
Russell Wilson currently leads all quarterbacks in annual value with a yearly salary of $35MM, and there’s no doubt Watson and his agent want to topple that mark. Of course, Patrick Mahomes could soon take over as the highest-paid quarterback, as the Chiefs are reportedly targeting a post-draft extension for the 2018 MVP.
There’s no argument to be made that Watson’s performance — as good as it’s been — should earn more than Mahomes, but during his short stint as the Texans’ top decision-maker, O’Brien has proven that anything is possible. Either way, dueling contract discussions between Mahomes and the Chiefs/Watson and the Texans should prove beneficial for both signal-callers and drive up the price tag for both players.
The Texans aren’t under any obligation to extend Watson’s contract immediately. Because Watson was a first-round pick in 2017, Houston holds a fifth-year option for the 2021 campaign. That option will surely be exercised, meaning the Texans control the 24-year-old’s rights for two more years. Still, it sound as though Houston may not want to wait much longer before locking in Watson for the long haul.
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