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J.J. Watt: I'll get involved with deal talks 'if I have to'

Texans owner Bob McNair recently said that Houston wouldn't shy away from franchise-tagging All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt if the sides can't hammer out a long-term pact before his rookie deal expires in 2016.

"We want to take care of all of our players, but the team comes first," said McNair, who acknowledged that any long-term arrangement between the Texans and Watt would amount to a "big contract."

Watt told reporters on Tuesday that he's outplayed his rookie deal and wants an extension, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The Pro Bowler said he's not involved in talks, "but I'll get involved if I have to."

That would need to happen soon, with McClain noting that Texans general manager Rick Smith doesn't negotiate contracts during the regular season. Any new deal would need to be signed by midnight before the opener, or else the Texans and Watt can pick up talks next offseason.

With two years remaining on his deal, the Texans might not be in a rush. The ball is in Watt's court long-term, though: He's set to shatter the pay wall for 3-4 defensive ends after severely outplaying his first NFL contract.

"It's been great to see some of these (2011) guys get deals, because it shows that their teams appreciate what work they put in," Watt told Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports last week. "You work extremely hard in this league to do as well as you can and hopefully earn that respect and to earn that appreciation."

McNair has been coy about the team's plans for Watt, but former Texans defensive play-caller Wade Phillips believes no price is too high for the disruptive whirlwind with 36.5 sacks over just three campaigns.

"I've coached (Hall of Famers) Reggie White, Bruce Smith, and Curley Culp," Phillips said. "He's in that class. ... I remember some people were saying he was a bust his rookie year. Yeah, he's gonna be a bust, all right. But it's gonna be a bust in the Hall of Fame. He's the perfect player."

Perfect players tend to get paid -- a lot.

"I know what I can do," Watt said in the Yahoo interview. "I can work as hard as I possibly can. And then I'll let the team decide what I'm worth. Then we'll see how it goes from there."

UPDATE: Watt isn't the only one after an extension, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The Texans have perhaps been motivated to strike a new deal with Watt following the extensions signed by fellow 2011 first-round picks Patrick Peterson and Tyron Smith, a source familiar with the Texans' situation informed Rapoport.

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