in

Texans, Deshaun Watson agree to contract extension

Deshaun Watson traveled a fast track to NFL success through his elusive scrambles, strong right arm and an ironclad determination extending back to his Georgia roots.

From his time as an Atlanta Falcons ball boy and growing up in public housing, where he was raised by his single mother, Deann Watson, a cancer survivor, Watson has always dreamed ambitiously.

Now, Watson has reached another coveted milestone by achieving generational wealth through his blockbuster NFL contract agreed to a four-year, $160 million extension that averages $39 million annually and includes a $27 million signing bonus.

Over a total of six years, including the two remaining years on Watson’s deal and running through the 2025 season, the contract has a total value of $177.5 million with $111 million in total guarantees. The deal was negotiated by agent David Mulugheta of Athletes First, Texans executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby and Texans director of football administration Kevin Krajcovic.

The deal, which includes a $17 million roster bonus in 2023, makes Watson the second-highest paid quarterback in the league in terms of annual average in new money and includes base salaries of $1.177 million in 2020 (guaranteed), $10.54 million in 2021 (guaranteed), $35 million in 2022 (guaranteed), $20 million in 2023 (guaranteed), and $32 million in 2024 and 2025 that isn’t guaranteed.

Watson’s salary cap figures, beginning this year, are $9.8 million, $15.9 million, $40.4 million, $42.4 million, $37.4 million and $32 million.

With this deal, Watson, 24, has achieved a financial stratosphere rivaled by few professional athletes.

Negotiations advanced in an organized, cordial fashion for the past several months dating back to their conversations at the NFL scouting combine in February.

There was little doubt this would eventually happen. Watson made it abundantly clear at the start of training camp that he was committed to the Texans even after a somewhat bumpy offseason that included the unpopular trade of All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for former All-Pro running back David Johnson.

“As a child growing up in Georgia, it was always my dream to play in the NFL,” Watson said in a statement. “Today, I couldn’t be more honored and humbled to sign a long-term deal in Houston, the city that I’ve grown to love so much and now call my home. Thanks to Cal, Janice, the entire McNair family, Coach O’Brien, Jack Easterby and the whole Texans’ organization for helping to make my dream a reality. Special thank you to all my teammates, past and present, for believing in me and helping me grow as both a player and person.

“I’m so grateful to my mom, who is and has always been my rock and showed me anything is possible. She instilled in me at an early age that no matter the circumstances and obstacles you must endure and keep going. Thank you to my brothers and my sister who have seen the worse times and the best times with me and never lost hope. My entire family, coaches, friends and mentors who have supported me along the way – I wouldn’t be here without you. Last, but certainly not least, thank you to the best fans in the NFL. I promise to do everything I can to not only bring a championship to this great city, but also leave a legacy of helping positively impact this community. Now back to the work …”

Watson’s contract has a significantly different structure than Kansas City Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is signed to a 10-year contract, $477.639 million contract extension that includes $141.481 million guaranteed. The reigning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player’s contract is the largest deal in North American professional sports history, topping Angels outfielder Mike Trout’s 12-year, $426.5 million contract.

Watson’s deal runs akin to other market-value deals for elite passers. The Texans’ pact with Watson has parallels in length and value to Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson’s four-year, $140 million contract extension signed last year that included $107 million guaranteed, a $65 million signing bonus and an average annual compensation of $35 million.

Watson’s deal also exceeds Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ four-year, $134 million contract that includes $98.7 million guaranteed, a $57.5 million signing bonus and an average annual compensation of $33.5 million.

The way that the Chiefs feel about Mahomes mirrors how the Texans feel about Watson. With his strong, accurate arm, elusiveness, toughness and uncanny improvisational skills, Watson gives the Texans an opportunity to be competitive against any team. That’s why they were comfortable making this kind of all-in investment with Watson.

Throughout the process, Texans coach and general manager Bill O’Brien emphasized that the relationship between the team and its franchise quarterback and leader remains a strong one.

“We obviously have stated that we have so much belief in Deshaun,” O’Brien said. “We love Deshaun. We want him here for a long time.”

And now Watson will be, even though this was always regarded as an eventuality, not a potential scenario due to his success and how he’s regarded by the organization, including chairman and chief operating officer Cal McNair.

In recent days, contract talks kept advancing and culminated Saturday morning, five days before the Texans will square off against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

A national championship winner at Clemson, a first-round draft pick as the 12th overall pick in 2017 and a Pro Bowl selection last season, Watson has led the Texans to consecutive division titles.

Watson, whose family moved into a new home in Gainesville, Ga., when he was 11 years old after he found a Habitat for Humanity brochure in his Halloween candy bag. His mother filled out the paperwork and changed their lives. This year, Watson authored a book about his life story.

Heading into his fourth season, Watson has piled up 9,716 career passing yards and 71 touchdown passes while rushing for 1,233 yards and 14 touchdowns. Before Watson took his first NFL snap, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney called him the Michael Jordan of football.

“He’s an excellent decision maker,” O’Brien said of Watson. “He’s a very instinctive player. One of his greatest traits is that he really has an understanding and he can see the field really well. He makes good decisions.

“I think from where he was a rookie to where he is now, it’s improved leaps and bounds and will continue to get better with all the reps and how well he really understands the pro game now.”

In three NFL seasons, Watson has gone 24-13 as a starter while completing 66.8 percent of his throws. In an overtime playoff win over the Buffalo Bills, two blitzing linebackers bounced off Watson as he calmly completed a throw to Taiwan Jones to set up the game-winning score.

“He means an opportunity to win every game,” Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said. “Very fortunate to have a quarterback who will keep you in every game no matter what the situation and know that you go into a game with a chance to win every single game you play.”

Watson went 10-5 as a starter last season for the AFC South champions, passing for 3,852 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He was extremely sharp in the playoffs, including passing for 388 yards, two touchdown passes with one touchdown run in an AFC divisional round playoff loss to the Chiefs.

“Deshaun understands the level of consistency he wants to achieve, so he irons out all the small details in his game to get to that point and play with timing and understand everything conceptually to a high degree of knowledge,” Watson’s longtime private quarterbacks coach Quincy Avery said. “Deshaun has always been a student of the game. He’s done it against NFL defenses for three seasons at a high level, so those experiences have given him a lot more information and he can build upon all of that.

“Whenever the contract happens, it won’t change him at all. He’ll still be the same Deshaun, grounded and humble. I’m excited to see everything happening for him because he’s worked extremely hard and deserves it all.”

Source link

Serena Williams comes from behind to storm into US Open fourth round after win over Sloane Stephens

Teenager stabbed at West Ham Station before another man is knifed in night of violence in London