The Houston Texans must find a way to lock down their franchise quarterback Deshawn Watson past 2020.
Trading away Watson’s favorite and most-trusted wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins probably wasn’t the way to start negotiations. The Texans need to show Watson they are serious about winning and him leading this offense.
Make no doubt about it; Deshaun Watson is a franchise-level quarterback. After his injury-shortened rookie campaign, he has been a force to be dealt with in the past two seasons. In 2018, he ranked 11th in passing yards with 4,165, with 26 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, while completing 68.3 percent of his passes.
Those numbers were only slightly lower last year as he threw for 3,852 yards, 26 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and completing 67.3 percent in just 15 games.
He is also a threat to run, compiling 964 yards over the past two seasons on the ground, with 12 more touchdowns.
At this point, you have to consider him a proven winner as well. Over the past two years, he is 21-10 as a starter, leading his team to consecutive AFC South division titles and a postseason win in 2019. What more could a team expect from their quarterback?
The internet is buzzing a bit about what will happen with Watson since the Texans traded Hopkins last week. BetOnline.ag has Watson listed as a favorite to start for the Patriots in 2021. No one wants to see that!
Now Watson is tweeting out Drake lyrics. Nick Goss from Yahoo Sports does a great job trying to read between the lines on his analysis of Watson’s tweet.
Unless everyone is reading too much into this (entirely possible), Watson isn’t too happy with his team right now. You know what would make him happy and would shut everyone up – a new contract extension!
Every team wants a franchise quarterback. The biggest drawback is finding the fine line between paying that star the money he deserves for excelling at the premium position and being able to afford good players to place around him.
If you pay the quarterback too much, it will take up too much of the cap space, and you might not be able to field a competitive around him.
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The question becomes if you can pay him enough to be happy and be competitive as time advances. In 2019, only one quarterback earned more than $30 million (Matt Stafford at $30.7 million).
For argument’s sake, let’s speculate that Mahomes signs for around $40 million. How much under that figure is realistic for Watson? $35 million? A little less? A little more? That is probably a good starting point.
Right now, Over the Cap has the Texans at almost $68 million in effective cap space for 2021. Of course, that could change in the coming weeks as more players are added via the draft or other free agent signings. Still, it looks like the Texans could squeeze $35 million into that space for the next few years. The cap will grow over time, and it might get tight, but front offices are brilliant about working within the cap.
The Texans need to be proactive in negotiating with Watson. They need to be aggressive in keeping him in Houston. It is time to put aside all the discussions and speculation about trade talks – you don’t trade a franchise quarterback – you re-sign them.
The Houston Texans need to get Watson at a table and negotiate a lengthy contract that will secure his future with the team, and they should start doing it now!