Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 3
How does fellow defensive superstar Von Miller feel about JJ Watt's new extension? He doesn't think it's enough via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today:
He's underpaid in my opinion. What he does for the Texans, no one else does that for their organization. None of the big-time quarterbacks that are getting the big-time deals do. J.J. Watt deserves a similar deal. He does everything on the field, everything off the field. It was well deserved. I think he should have gotten more.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle fully details Watt's new mega contract:
Watt received a $10 million signing bonus. He gets a $10 million roster bonus in March. For cap relief, the 2015 roster bonus can be converted into signing bonus, depending on the Texans’ cap situation next year.
Technically, Watt’s contract is eight years for $108.8 million, but he gets $100 million in new money in the six-year extension.
The extra $8.8 comes from what was left in base salaries from his original four-year contract he signed in 2011. He’ll still get that $8.8 million this year and next year.
Watt’s base salary this year changed from $1.9 million to $907,385. His base salary in 2015 changed from $6.9 million to $9.969 million.
McClain also broke down Watt's salary each season of the deal:
2014: $907,385 ($4.575 million)
2015: $9.969 million ($21.969 million)
2016: $10.5 million ($12.5 million)
2017: $10.5 million ($12.5 million)
2018: $11 million ($13 million)
2019: $13 million ($13 million)
2020: $15.5 million ($15.5 million)
2021: $17.5 million ($17.5 million)
Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 2
The Houston Texans snapped a photo of J.J. Watt signing his new deal on Tuesday:
Watt discussed his early morning and talked about signing the extension via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle:
#Texans' J.J. Watt started working out at 4 a.m. this morning. Hit weight room. Texted photo to GM Rick Smith.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) September 2, 2014
Bleacher Report's Jason Cole provides a breakdown of Watt's guaranteed salary in his new deal:
Ok, real guar on Watt is $30.87M. Remainder of $51.8M guar kicks in before 2016 season. Fair deal, but not Mario Williams deal.— Jason Cole (@JasonPhilCole) September 2, 2014
J.J. Watt never considered holding out. He just went about his business on the field, establishing himself as the most dominant defensive lineman in the league over the past two seasons. And that has earned him a handsome raise.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has agreed to a contract extension with the Houston Texans:
Texans have agreed in principle to long term extension with JJ Watt.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 2, 2014
JJ Watt 6 year extension is for $100 million and includes $51.876 million guaranteed.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) September 2, 2014
ESPN's Chris Mortensen provided context to how big of a deal this extension is for a defensive player:
Watt becomes NFL's highest paid def player, surpassing 6-year, $96-mill Bills gave ex-Texan Mario Williams, who got $50 mill guaranteed— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) September 2, 2014
Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post provided his snap take on the reported deal:
Wow, J.J. Watt still had two years left on his contract. The Texans' willingness to tear that up and keep a young star happy is impressive.— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) September 2, 2014
Talk of contract negotiations escalated in August when Watt discussed his desire to be recognized like other stars of his draft class, via the Houston Chronicle's Brian T. Smith:
When you look around the league and you see a couple guys from the 2011 draft class get contracts, it’s just nice to see appreciation being shown. With the new (collective bargaining agreement), I think one of the goals was to make guys earn their pay. No more big paydays up front. … When a team gives a contract after the third year, they’re saying, ‘We think you’ve earned this.’ And so, I don’t know if (the Texans) feel that way or not. But I sure hope I’ve put in all the work and I’ve put in everything I can do to hopefully earn it.
Saying he "earned it" would probably still be an understatement.
Following an up-and-down rookie campaign, Watt morphed into one of the most feared defensive players on the planet in 2012. So good he garnered talk as an MVP candidate, the Wisconsin product finished with 20.5 sacks and 16 pass deflections.
“Two years ago was the best defensive line play in the history of football,” said former coach Wade Phillips—who has worked with legends such as Bruce Smith and Reggie White—per Grantland's Robert Mays.
As the entire Texans team struggled in 2013, Watt's mainstream numbers weren't as impressive, but he remained just as unblockable. According to Pro Football Focus' grading system, no player at the same position was even in the same sphere:
JJ Watt has almost 3x the grade of any other 3-4 DE this season: 61.3 vs 21.0 for the next best.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 16, 2013
And if you think the barrels of money will alter the 25-year-old's production or progression, think again. Few players have a work ethic on par with Watt's. Mays wrote a feature on the subject, while Sports Illustrated's Peter King provided a telling story:
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-Post-practice, Texans walked off field. Watt went to individual sled, knelt before it. Did 4 sets of 8 punches on sled.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 19, 2014
I thought, "Maybe that's why he's the best defensive player in football."— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 19, 2014
If anything, Watt is the kind of player who will want to make sure he lives up to this kind of massive raise. And considering what he did while on his rookie contract, that's a scary thought.
Either way, he's a once-in-a-generation player, and now the Texans can rest easy that he'll be in Houston for for the foreseeable future. Throw in physical freak Jadeveon Clowney, and quarterbacks in the AFC South aren't going to feel safe for a very long time.