Every-Thing Sports

Watson's comments and extension: Here's where they should go from here

Composite image by Jack Brame.

When it comes to contract negotiations, teams and players will use whatever leverage they have at their disposal. Whether it's a team leaking what they've offered a player to show fans and media that they offered something fair, or it's a player and his camp leaking details of the organization's unwillingness to meet reasonable demands, there's always a spin put on things.

Deshaun Watson has been a bit more outspoken than Texans fans are used to over the last few weeks. He's not only appeared at protests of social injustice, but he's also spoken out against such topics as well. Recently appearing on Carmelo Anthony's podcast, Watson has made comments saying he hasn't spoken to team owner Cal McNair about the recent events and going as far as suggesting conversations will be uncomfortable when everyone returns to the locker room. Couple this with the fact that Watson is looking to negotiate an extension, and you could be looking at a recipe for disaster.

Add all of that to the fact that head coach Bill O'Brien is also the general manager, and we could be looking at a flaming dumpster fire. So what could all of this mean for Watson and the Texans moving forward? Here's what I'm thinking:

Watson's alleged preferences

We've heard through the grapevine that Watson prefers a shorter deal than the 10 year/503 million dollar deal Pat Mahomes has signed. There's a few reasons I agree with this sentiment. For one: it allows him to reset and reenter the market. A shorter deal, potentially with more guaranteed money, allows him to see the landscape and sign another deal making more money while Mahomes is still under his long-term deal.

Good business sense

Seeing as how the current racial/social climate is, Watson knows he's holding the cards. Add that to the fact that the organization traded the best receiver he had in a decision to move in a different direction, Watson is clearly in the driver's seat when it comes to the business end of things. If he follows the Russell Wilson model, he can reset the market every three to five years when it comes to quarterback extensions. Wilson has roughly 70-plus percent of his four-year deal guaranteed, whereas Mahomes has only 12.5 percent of his deal guaranteed. While one is a four-year deal and the other is ten years, you can see why Watson would prefer the shorter term deal with more guarantees.

Social injustice playing a part

When Bill O'Brien came out and said he'd kneel and support his players, I wasn't too surprised. A guy in his position should be willing to do anything he can to support the guys that have afforded him the power and job security he's acquired. The organization has put out a series of sit-downs on their website with ownership and several former players and dignitaries talking about social injustice. How Cal McNair reacts to being called out by Watson will play a huge part in this process. If he reacts in a manner that is pleasing to Watson, he'll most likely re-sign. But if he reacts in a manner that Watson deems anything less than acceptable, he won't be back.

Watson holds all the cards here. The Texans know it, and so does the general public. We've seen Bill O'Brien fumble personnel moves since being installed as the general manager. This contract negotiation needs to be different in order to save this franchise. While I don't expect Watson to set a new market for quarterback contracts, I do expect him to be fairly compensated. Something along the lines of what Russell Wilson got, but with a bump in overall value and guaranteed money seems fair in my eyes. A four-year deal worth $144 million with $108 million fully guaranteed is what I'm thinking. This way, Watson can say he has the second highest annual average ($36 million) and the most fully guaranteed money at the time of signing (Mahomes only has $63 million of his whopper deal fully guaranteed). Will cooler heads prevail? Or, will this franchise suffer another devastating loss due to stupidity?

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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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