DOLLARS AND SENSE

How Prescott and Watson contracts expose glaring flaws in NFL compensation

Dak Prescott signed a huge extension. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Well, it didn't take long for the Texans' $39 million-a-year quarterback Deshaun Watson to be underpaid.

Dak Prescott signed a contract Monday that will pay him $160 million over four years, with $126 million of it guaranteed, plus a $66 million signing bonus up front. That's an all-time NFL record for an autograph. Next season, all-in, Prescott will make $75 million. That's for one season.

This isn't to say that our guy (for now) Watson is working for minimum wage. He's the third highest-earning quarterback in the league. Last year, Watson signed a four-year, $156 million deal that will pay him $39 million per year, with $111 million guaranteed, and a $27 million signing bonus. Prescott beats him in line item.

Only the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has a richer contract, $450 million over 10 years. With bonuses and incentives, Patrick Mahomes' deal could be worth more than a half a billion bucks.

Prescott and Watson's situations may be the better deal in the long run. Prescott will be 31 and Watson only 29 when they're ready for a new contract. With TV contracts expiring, ticket prices soaring and the stock market booming, the sky may be the limit for Prescott and Watson.

Consider this, Jerry Jones paid $154 million to buy the Dallas Cowboys, the whole team, in 1989. He will pay Prescott, one player, more than that the next four years.

Let's compare apples to apples, Prescott to Watson. Prescott makes more per year, has more money guaranteed and a bigger signing bonus. Plus Prescott has better receivers, better running backs, better offensive linemen and plays for a better team with a better owner.

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld flying in first class: better everything!

There's only one problem with the comparison: Prescott ain't better than Watson.

Prescott's best year was in 2019, when he threw for 30 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. The Cowboys went 8-8 that year.

Last year, Watson threw 33 touchdowns and with only seven completions to the other team. You don't need to be reminded that the Texans finished with a sucky 4-12 record.

Watson is faster, has a cannon arm and is a lifelong winner, at least until the Texans got hold of him. He's two years younger than Prescott. He's a more accurate passer, and a better deep ball heaver. He has a higher career completion percentage and higher passing rating. Nobody beats Professor Watson's post-game interviews.

Here's how you can determine who's the better quarterback. If things were normal (they're not), and Jerry Jones called Punkin' Cal McNair and offered to trade Prescott for Watson, the Texans would say no thanks. The Cowboys would take the deal and probably hornswoggle the Texans into throwing in draft picks and a sno-cone.

Of course this is a moot scenario because Watson wants out of Houston. The Texans are playing hardball, insisting they have no intention of trading Watson, which is the cherry on top of the Texans' stupid streak regarding their star quarterback. The Texans will embarrass themselves a few more times, but there will be somebody else playing quarterback next season.

Here are other quarterbacks making more than $30 million per year: Russell Wilson ($35 million), Jared Goff ($33.5 million), Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million), Kirk Cousins ($33 million), Carson Wentz ($32 million) and Matt Ryan ($30 million). In cases like Wentz and Goff, it's like they say in those TV commercials for stock brokerages: past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Meanwhile, there's a quarterback in Tampa Bay who's playing for relative peanuts. Some guy named Tom something makes only $25 million. Haven't heard much about him lately, though.

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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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