Deshaun Watson to become highest-paid player in NFL history?

Deshaun Watson, contract
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans have received a lot of criticism for making all the wrong moves during Bill O’Brien’s tenure as general manager. After picking up the fifth-year option on star quarterback Deshaun Watson, though, it appears the Texans will make the smart call by rewarding him with a monster extension,

After drafting Watson with the No. 12 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Texans have watched their young quarterback become an MVP-caliber player. Now entering his fourth season and only under contract through 2021, the Texans are preparing to make him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

While both sides aren’t close to agreeing to a long-term extension, Watson’s contract is expected to range between $40-42 million annually, per The Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is currently the highest-paid player in the NFL, averaging $35 million per season on a deal worth $140 million. In an offseason that could see Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signing record-breaking extensions, the Texans understandably want to be the first team to get it done.

Watson is coming off another strong season, despite playing behind an average offensive line. The 24-year-old threw for 3,852 passing yards this season with 413 rushing yards and 34 total touchdowns. While the Texans fell short in their playoff loss to the Chiefs, Watson racked up 388 passing yards and three total touchdowns in the contest.

Signing Watson to an extension in the near future would benefit the Texans. It would allow the organization to get ahead of Mahomes’ contract, which will likely set the new bar for quarterback salaries. Meanwhile, it could smooth things over with Watson after O’Brien traded away DeAndre Hopkins, a decision that still bothers Watson.

The Texans already made offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil the highest-paid player at his position by a stunning margin and they now appear set to do the same with Watson.