Why latest Deshaun Watson contract rumors make a lot of sense
Deshaun Watson is eligible for a new contract, and the Texans reportedly want to get it done. He has two more years on his current deal, but the team would like to avoid a longterm battle, use of the franchise tag and duplicating the awkward situation that the Dallas Cowboys have with Dak Prescott.
The latest news says Watson would like a three-year extension, which would put him under contract through 2024. If need be, the franchise tag could be used in 2025 and even 2026, but more likely Watson would get another deal at that point.
While it would still make a lot of sense for the Texans to hold off for a season and make sure the salary cap is not going to be negatively impacted in a severe way by the Rona, a shorter deal does make sense for both sides.
Watson has been good for the Texans, but he has yet to become elite. He has shown flashes, and it might happen this year. If it does, he would be in line to make more money by gambling on himself. But if the Texans are going to have to pay him like an elite QB anyway; why not wait until he is actually that?
But the three-year extension could be a good compromise. If Watson never develops beyond what he is (legitimately possible with this coaching staff), they will not be locked in to a longterm, onerous deal that they might not be able to get out of. If he does take another step, the Texans will get value for their investment.
Watson is going to get paid one way or another. Adding three years - presumably with an easy team exit in year five if needed - gives the parties four seasons to make sure this marriage works.
A new deal would likely mean more money in the existing years of his deal, where he is scheduled to make $4.408 million in 2020 and $17.540 in 2021. Basically it would mirror Laremy Tunsil's extension, with more money in years one and two and bigger cap hits on the back end in the added years of the deal.
So when it is announced the deal will average a certain amount per year, it will include money tacked on, so like Tunsil's deal, there will never be a single season where he makes $22 million even though that is his average for each year.
Watson will likely fall in the $35 million per year range, but the cap hits in later seasons will be less than that.
Regardless, extending for just three years gets Watson his money, protects the Texans in case the investment doesn't pay off, and solidifies the position for the next 5-7 years if it does.
It makes sense for everyone involved.