The Houston Texans are in a great position heading into the off-season. A loss in the divisional round to the Baltimore Ravens was heartbreaking, especially after a magical season. DeMeco Ryans’ unit fought hard throughout the game. Their efforts provide fans with uplifting thoughts concerning next season. The Houston Texans' front office is in a better position than in previous years. They have draft picks, cap space, and a franchise quarterback and will not need to do much to ensure success next season. C.J. Stroud demonstrated his worth to the franchise in his first season under center.
When will the Houston Texans offer C.J. Stroud a contract extension?
C.J Stroud had an historic rookie season
First-round picks in the NFL draft can jumpstart success. Players selected in the initial thirty picks are seen as game-changers before they sport an NFL jersey. Scouts throughout the league believed C.J. Stroud was one of those talented young men. An impressive career at Ohio State University secured a promising future. Stroud earned 8,123 passing yards and threw 85 touchdowns. He received Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year consecutively (2021,2022). Based on projections, Stroud was considered an elite prospect. The former Buckeye was the second quarterback drafted in the 2023 class and signed a four-year $36,279,243 deal.
It did not take long for the rookie quarterback to earn his keep. He won the quarterback battle in the early stages of the off-season. He did not hesitate to become a leader of the team. A win in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers was the first siting of greatness. Stroud threw three touchdown passes and scorched Teryl Austin's secondary for 304 passing yards. It was the first noteworthy performance of his young career. Consistency throughout the rest of the season would later make Stroud a candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He ranked 8th in passing yards (4,108), 14th in completions (319), and set the rookie single-game passing record (470) in Week 9 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
C.J Stroud is not eligible for a contract extension
A handful of accomplishments solidified C.J. Stroud as the franchise quarterback. He helped the Texans clinch the playoffs for the first time since 2019. They were a game shy of their first AFC Championship appearance in franchise history. Without Stroud, these peaks are impossible. He became the X-Factor in Bobby Slowik’s offense - a sign of a dynamic player.
If C.J. Stroud had been drafted a few years earlier, he would’ve signed a longer rookie deal. The collective bargaining agreement (2011) reduced salaries for early first-round picks - making it harder for successful rookies to earn large deals. First-round draftees are now offered four-year deals and cannot sign an extension until after three years with the team. Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford were the last quarterbacks to earn six-year contracts immediately after draft night. The rule change affects how modern-day players consider job security before they play their first professional game. It also forces standout players to demonstrate consistency before they earn what they deserve.
There is plenty of time to evaluate if C.J. Stroud will earn an extension in the third year of his deal. His rookie season was special, but he must continue to show why he is worthy of a big contract. I want to see Stroud succeed and believe he will deliver the same results throughout his career. The only way the former first rounded misses an extension is if his performance declines.
Determining whether a quarterback deserves an extension on their rookie contract has been an issue for front offices recently. Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert were top picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. None of these gunslingers have signed an extension after three years in the league. C. J Stroud performed better than these quarterbacks in his rookie year. They all have experienced success, but which one has been consistent? We expect Stroud to continue to grow throughout his career. If he wants to remain with Houston, he must duplicate his 2023 results for the next two seasons.
All statistics courtesy off pff.com