FALCON POINTS

Let's discuss if this is the right time to pay Deshaun Watson

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The Texans are reportedly working on an extension for quarterback Deshaun Watson, one that is surely to make him one of the highest paid players in the league.

Watson is clearly the face of the franchise (well, when Bill O'Brien isn't forcing himself out front) and a player the Texans should lock up. However, is now the right time?

Watson is scheduled to make $4.4 million in 2020, less than kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn. He would make just over $17 million in the final year of his deal in 2021, and the Texans could conceivably franchise him for another year. While Watson deserves to get paid, perhaps it should happen after the 2020 season, not before.

Houston is almost in the same boat as Dallas, which is trying to lock up Dak Prescott long-term. Prescott has been tagged for just over $31 million in 2020. The Cowboys Stephen Jones is aware of what paying big money means.

"There's all sorts of analytics out there that show if your quarterback takes up too big a percentage of your salary cap, that it decreases your chances to win," Jones said.

While there are some that would dispute that, the concern is real. Tie up too much of your cap, and there is not enough money to place talent around your quarterback. You could argue the Cowboys have better pieces around Prescott than the Texans do Watson.

In both cases, the players deserve their money. But with Watson, waiting might make more sense. The big concern is how much the salary cap world will change in the Ronaverse. If you lock up Watson now at 2019 money, the possibilities of it taking up a massive amount of cap space increase. While many speculate the cap will still go up due to TV dollars even if massive revenue is lost due to lack of fans, hoping that happens is foolish. TV dollars are based on the potential for ad sales. Is it a guarantee that money will be there in the future?

Pre-Rona, yes, you lock up Watson at whatever the cost. But with the future uncertain for both sports and the economy, would waiting a year really be a bad idea? Sure, Watson could increase his value, but by how much? A few million a year? If he does that, you don't mind paying. It means you probably made a Super Bowl, although that seems unlikely considering the limitations of his coaching staff.

But if the cap drops drastically, it would deflate the market. Watson would still get paid big money, but at a more realistic rate. The Texans would have no problem shedding cap in 2021 to give him a big raise then. Theoretically, they could do that now, certainly, and still be able to field a competitive team. There are always ways to stay under the cap, even if it plummets dramatically in 2021. But with an uncertain future for both sports and the economy, is this really the time?

Waiting a year might be the prudent move. Let's see if the Texans actually do it.

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J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans all-time leader in sacks (96.0), is entering his ninth season with the franchise ahead of what will certainly be an anomaly year for the NFL. Due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, there is serious doubt that the NFL will be able to play a full 16-game schedule, while others express their concern with the league's inability to play any form of football come the fall of 2020.

There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the league this coming season, which is becoming a theme for Watt's future in Houston.

The 31-year-old defensive end has two years remaining on his six-year, $100 million contract extension he signed in September of 2014. But as he prepares to embark on another year with the Texans through Zoom meetings with his teammates, a new contract is not on Watt's priority list.

"No, I don't think that's necessary," Watt told Houston reporters on Wednesday. "I fully understand and respect the situation that I'm in at the moment, and what's happened in the past few years, so I'm not gonna sit here and demand anything. I think if I went back and asked for an extension or more money, I think that would be the wrong move. I am just going out there to prove my worth and to help this team win games."

As of now, it is unsure what the future holds for Watt's career with the Texans. Should management re-sign the three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner (2012, 2014 & 2015), the question becomes: How much is Watt worth as he enters the twilight of his career? It's the subject that will be the driving force when discussing Watt's future with the team, and the segment that sparked a trade rumor of his departure to the Chicago Bears.

Although his on-field production remains extremely valuable, Watt has had a difficult time trying to stay healthy. Since 2016, he has missed 32 out of a possible 64 games due to an abundance of injuries. In 2019, Watt missed half of the season after suffering a torn pectoral during the Texans' 27-24 victory over the then-Oakland Raiders.

"My goal for every season is to do whatever possible to help this team win, and number one, that means staying healthy," he said. "You have to be on the field in order to help the team win, and then it is to play at the peak physical level I am capable of. It is just making sure I am in the best possible shape to perform that way."

Contract and injuries aside, the five-time Pro-Bowler is excited about his opportunity to play under new defensive coordinator, Anthony Weaver. During his introductory press conference two weeks ago, Weaver said Watt will remain the focal point for the Texans' defense in 2020, but acknowledged getting the future Hall of Famer through 16 games remains a hurdle.

After four seasons serving as Houston's defensive line coach, the Texans promoted Weaver to defensive coordinator in January to replace Romeo Crennel.

"I love [Anthony] Weaver... I think that he has a great mixture of knowledge of the game, experience, but also personality to be able to handle the players in the room," Watt said. "To be able to inject some fun and excitement into meetings, practice and everything, all while bringing the knowledge necessary to run a good defense."

Under the guidance of a new defensive coordinator, Weaver may be just the coach to help Watt rekindle the potential that made him an All-Pro defensive end. Regardless of the uncertainties surrounding his future at the conclusion of his contract, Watt is hoping he will have the opportunity to finish his career where it started — in Houston.

"That is a goal of mine, and this city [Houston] has been incredible to me since I got here," Watt said. "I don't know what's going to happen in the future, but I certainly hope that's the case."

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