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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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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