Deshaun Watson, come on down, you're the next quarterback to get a bag of cash!
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the Houston Texans and Watson agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension worth $160 million, per sources informed of the deal. Watson gets a massive $111 million in guarantees. The team later confirmed the extension.
With two years left on his rookie deal, the new pact keeps the starting QB in Houston through 2025.
The $40 million-per-year average in new money makes Watson the second-highest paid player in NFL history, behind Patrick Mahomes, who signed a decade-long deal worth upwards of $500 million earlier this offseason.
Unlike Mahomes, who is under contract for the next 12 years, Watson will have a shot at potential free agency much sooner, with another chance to cash in again at the age of 30.
An emotional Watson discussed his new deal during a Saturday press conference that incorporated his mother Deann, Texans coach Bill O'Brien, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and Astros pitcher Justin Verlander.
"I'm lost for words, honestly. Been crying a little bit, a lot of bit, really. It's just an amazing moment for me," the two-time Pro Bowler said. "The money is amazing. It's life-changing. It's great. But the biggest thing is for the (organization) to just trust in me and believe in me that I'm their guy, I'm their quarterback is the biggest thing that really touches me."
As chatter of Watson's deal made its way around the NFL, it was clear that the Houston signal-caller wasn't looking for a Mahomes-type of decade-long deal. In the end, Watson will actually get more cash over the four years of the extension than Mahomes, and a quicker bite at the free-agent apple -- or, likely, another big extension before then.
From the moment the Texans moved up in the 2017 draft to pluck Watson out of Clemson, the quarterback has dazzled. He took over one week into his rookie campaign, and immediately it was clear he had difference-making talent to go along with supreme leadership. A knee injury cut short his rookie season, but the future was in place in Houston.
The past two seasons, Watson has been among the top QBs in the NFL, carrying his club to the postseason both years. In 31 starts over the past two seasons, he's compiled 8,017 passing yards, 52 TDs to just 21 INTs and a 67.8 completion percentage, while rushing for 964 yards and 12 additional TDs. The Texans have gone 21-10 with one playoff win over that span.
Behind what has not always been great blocking, Watson has spun magic, consistently anticipating open receivers and finding his outlets just in time before he's clobbered. Leading a majestic come-from-behind win against Buffalo in the playoffs last season was Watson in a nutshell. Never rattled. Never afraid. Never down or out. Always giving his team the best chance to win.
Watson earned every penny he'll make from a new contract. It's one that O'Brien said was important for both the organization and its franchise QB to complete before this season.
"We've only started this journey," O'Brien added.
Given a reworked receivers corps in Houston sans DeAndre Hopkins, Watson's job gets more difficult in 2020. It'd be foolhardy to suggest the QB won't shine anyway.
With Watson and Mahomes both getting big extensions this offseason, the newest faces of the NFL -- taking the torch from the likes of Brady and Brees -- both cement their statuses atop America's favorite sport.