Cornerback Johnathan Joseph left the Cincinnati Bengals last season after five seasons with the team and signed a five-year, $48.75 million contract that included $23.5 million in guaranteed money with the Houston Texans. In his first season in Houston, Joseph had four interceptions, earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time, and made note of several differences between the two organizations.
"The first thing about Houston is it's an organization run from a different perspective," Joseph told Barry Byers of The Herald in a Sunday Q&A. "In Cincy, the team lives off money it earns from football. Houston's owner has other business interests and he controls the money."
Joseph said that several teams were interested in his services, including the Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the decision ultimately came down to Houston and Cincinnati. The Texans' $9.75 million per year contract served as the baseline for extensions for several cornerbacks early last season, including the one Leon Hall, Joseph's former teammate, received from the Bengals. (Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers received a $9.75 million per year extension, as well.)
While the Joseph and Hall contracts are similar in total value, the payouts were different. The $18 million that Joseph received last season outpaced the $14 million the Bengals paid Hall. Over the first two years of their respective deals, Joseph will take home more than $25 million, while Hall will make just under $21 million. In addition to the financial aspect, Joseph says there are other ways players in Houston are treated better than Bengals players.
"Numerous things that go on such as the way Houston interacts with my family; we're treated in a first-class way," Joseph said. "They helped us when my wife lost our baby daughter in a miscarriage. But they help with anything you ask of them because they are a very caring organization with positive attitudes about its players. In Cincy, we're told how much Gatorade we could take home. In Houston, we get what we request. You get soap and deodorant at your request. You don't have a roommate on road trips."