JJ Watt contract: Last month I said I believed it was highly unlikely that JJ Watt and the Houston Texans would agree on a new contract before the start of the season. Before the terms of the contract were worked out, the Texans were in control. The star’s defensive end could only sign on for the season with a very thoughtful approach from Watt’s agents.
Thank goodness that’s exactly what happened to the Texans. Word spread late Monday night that Watt had essentially agreed to a long-term deal to keep him in Houston. As usual, the initial terminology of the deal was that of the agency. For NFL reporters, agents are often vital resources.
Watt signed the most important contract ever given to a defensive player, making him “the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.”
The total payment amount is where Houston would have the most fantastic room for negotiation if you had started with an objective assessment of where each party was coming from. After all, the Texans would have more flexibility to distribute their guaranteed money and signing bonus, because Watt was under contract for two more seasons.
Contract math can be played in different ways. Some amounts that are supposedly guaranteed only cover injuries. But in this case it doesn’t matter. The crucial point is that until you learn it, it won’t start until 2016; a six-year, $100 million extension sounds much more substantial.
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According to Over The Cap, the Texans planned to give Watt $1.9 million this year and $6.9 million in 2015. John Maclain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the numbers have been revised. Watt will earn a base salary of about $900,000 this season and $10 million in 2015, in addition to a $10 million signing bonus.
I can’t explain in detail how the money is structured without having the entire contract in front of me. But it seems likely that this six-year, $100 million extension will last for eight years.
We’ll likely discover even more math in the Texans’ favor as we peel back the layers of the onion that is every NFL deal. This is important because the Texans will benefit from this transaction, even under the terms reported by the agent. As McClain pointed out, there’s nothing in this contract that should be a heavy burden, even with the talent and injury guarantees starting in March each year.
Watt is undoubtedly one of the best in the league at chasing the quarterback in a league where it is more important than throwing the ball. He is still young (25), has not missed a single game in his career (48 out of 48 starting chances) and has shown that he can perform well even when the rest of his defense is a mess.
In the NFL, nothing is guaranteed. A great career can be ended by an injury at any time. But the number of assets with as much expected value as Watts can be counted on one hand. Signing Watt at his agent’s reported fee of $16.6 million per season is a steal.
According to Pro Football Talk, the salary cap could reach $160 million in 2016 due to the NFL’s new television regulations. If that’s the case, it will be easy to surpass the supposed guarantees in Mario Williams’ contract by then. And keep in mind that the reported contract is assumed to be correct. Watt most certainly will not see a significant part of the deal.
The Texans and JJWatt have agreed on a new 6-year deal that could net him $100 million. ($51.8 million guaranteed!) pic.twitter.com/woDDE6qlMi
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 2, 2014
Over the past few seasons, many aspects of the development of the Texans’ roster have been fair game for criticism. They extended the contracts of players whose value was not expected to last a little too early. The NFL draft has not been too successful for them. It’s amazing how unwilling they’ve been this offseason to recognize the need for a quarterback.
But this deal is a brilliant move. Houston has a long-term, team-friendly contract with one of the NFL’s best defensive players. Similar to having a great quarterback, it’s the kind of contract that gives the team a lot more leeway to get ahead in other areas.
Watt will earn $11,250,000 in base salary, $2,250,000 in roster bonuses and $1,000,000 in incentive bonuses by 2022. If you are interested in learning more about the information presented in the previous sentence, it is strongly recommended that you stay in constant contact with Leedaily.com.