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How The Patrick Mahomes Contract Extension Affects Deshaun Watson & The Texans

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This is good news for Houston.

Divisional Round - Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Yesterday it was announced the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes had agreed to a contract extension. It was reported the contract is worth $450 million over ten years and could be worth up to $503 million. The extension includes $141.4 million guaranteed and a full no-trade clause. Mahomes will play out the fourth year of his rookie contract and his fifth year option before the contract extension takes hold—meaning Mahomes is under contract with Kansas City for the next twelve seasons. The signing bonus will bump his base salary up for the next two seasons.

Mahomes was selected tenth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Since then he’s won a MVP, a Super Bowl MVP, and a Super Bowl, all before his 25th birthday. He’s the best quarterback in the league. There isn’t a contract extension out there that would be too outlandish for him.

In that same draft, the Houston Texans traded up to select Deshaun Watson twelfth overall. Watson has been in a lesser orbit than Mahomes. He’s 1-2 in the postseason, has commanded an offense that hasn’t eclipsed average, and has been named to two Pro Bowls. That isn’t a knock on Watson. The talent level between him and Mahomes is comparable. Watson was simply brought into a worse situation. He just hasn’t had a transcendent, all-time great start to his career like Mahomes has.

This was Watson’s reaction to the news that Mahomes reset the market yesterday:

Like Mahomes, Watson was reportedly having contract extension discussions with his team earlier this summer. It was later rumored Watson was seeking a three-year extension so he could sign a second lucrative contract extension at the peak of his playing career, after the market has been reset by the next crop of young quarterbacks.

If there is truth to these rumors, the Mahomes extension is good news for the Texans. If Mahomes signed a three-year contract like the one Watson is/was seeking, Houston probably would have been a situation where they had to upgrade on the contract Mahomes just signed. Three years and $40 million, $45 million, or $50 million a year; it was unknown how high the average yearly salary would have had to reach to supplant Mahomes.

Instead, Houston is the team on the frontier with their potential extension. The Mahomes extension isn’t a model to build off of. The Texans are in a situation of their own. It’s reasonable to expect Houston will build off of Watson’s current deal, like the Chiefs did with Mahomes; Houston will have Watson play out the fourth and fifth year of his rookie contract with a signing bonus bumping up Watson’s cap hit for the next two seasons. Like Mahomes, Watson’s contract extension would kick in after the completion of his rookie contract in 2022. In light of Mahomes’ deal, it’s reasonable to expect Watson could sign a new deal for something like three years and $120 million. Such an extension could come together quickly now that Mahomes has agreed to his new extension.

Like Mahomes, whatever dollar amount Watson agrees to won’t be too exorbitant. In the NFL, it’s impossible to overpay a young franchise quarterback who has the ability that Watson has. The Houston Texans, as they are currently constructed, are built entirely around Deshaun Watson now. Expect Watson’s next deal to reflect that reality.