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