NFL Rumors: Execs Expect Deshaun Watson to Sign New Contract Before MahomesMay 10, 2020
Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes are both under contract through the 2021 season, but the expectation is the Houston Texans quarterback will receive a new deal first.
Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler on SportsCenter, Watson's new contract is likely to come first because the Kansas City Chiefs star is "in his own stratosphere" right now:
"Deshaun Watson's big payday will be coming at some point because several league execs I spoke to believe that Watson will be the next quarterback in line for that mega-extension, even before Patrick Mahomes because Mahomes is sort of in his own stratosphere with all of his accomplishments.
"He can wait a little bit, where Watson and the Texans might have a smaller gap to bridge, and the Texans painted themselves into a corner when they re-signed left tackle Laremy Tunsil to a $22 million-a-year deal. He's the highest-paid left tackle; now they need to make their quarterback the highest paid, and that very well could happen in the next few months."
Watson, Mahomes and Mitchell Trubisky were the three quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2017 draft.
The Chiefs and Texans exercised fifth-year options for Mahomes and Watson, respectively. Trubisky's 2021 option was declined by the Chicago Bears.
There is no definitive timeline for Mahomes to get a deal done with the Chiefs. The Super Bowl LIV MVP told Yahoo Sports' Terez Paylor he wants to be with Kansas City "for a very long time" and will negotiate "the smart way and do it the right way."
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported prior to the Super Bowl that Mahomes will "shatter" the quarterback market with a deal that could make him the NFL's first $40 million-per-year player.
Per ESPN's Ed Werder, the Texans began "very preliminary" negotiations with Watson last month with the hope of reaching a deal before the start of the regular season.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson currently has the highest average annual salary ($35 million) at the position; Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons has the most fully guaranteed money ($94.5 million) and total money ($150 million).
Watson's rookie contract will pay him $4.4 million in 2020 and $17.5 million in 2021. The two-time Pro Bowler has thrown for 8,017 yards, 52 touchdowns and 21 interceptions with a 67.8 completion percentage over the past two seasons.
Contract information via Over the Cap.