Texans Keep Future In Mind With Watt's Deal

Despite star defensive end J.J. Watt being locking up for the next eight years for over $100 million. The Texans kept their flexibility with their cap situation in place.

Everyone in Houston knew it was coming. The Houston Texans extended J.J. Watt with a six year extension that will be worth up to $100 million with $51 of that guaranteed. It was no secret that Watt was going to get paid as this was the ongoing discussion after his 20.5 sack 2012 season where he garnered the AP Defensive Player of the year. He followed up that campaign with 10.5 sacks in 2013, making him one of the top players in the NFL.

The only question that needs to be answered now is what will happen with the Texans’ cap situation moving forward. With the contract, Watt received a $10 million signing bonus and his base salary for 2014 dropped to $907,385. In 2015, his base number will be $9.969 million which ends up starting the large cap numbers heading to 2021 when his contact extension expires.

General Manager Rick Smith pointed out at Watt’s press conference that this new deal would not impede the Texans from putting together a solid roster,

“Part of the negotiation piece of it is to ensure that we structure the deal in such a way that we protect ourselves as best we can with respect to that.” Smith continued, “I’ve got to tell you, one name that hasn’t been mentioned so far is our Vice President of Football Administration, Chris Olsen. Chris does a fantastic job of structuring our contracts and managing our salary cap, especially for the future as we move forward where this deal won’t impede us from continuing to build this football team into a championship.”

With a team that has been struggling with maintaining their cap situation over the recent seasons, the Texans will have close to $20 million coming off the books in dead money in 2015 for the contracts of Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, Danieal Manning, Brice McCain and Ed Reed. Watt’s newly signed contract plays a big part in how the Texans move forward putting together a competitive roster.

Watt’s Base Contract Numbers (Cap Number)

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)

The 2015 cap number will be the one to watch and how the Texans handle that season, but it is clear that all of the dead money coming off the books in 2015 with players that were cut are headed right into Watt’s pockets.

The Texans had to lock up their best player on the team and knowing he was going to get the richest deal for a defensive player in NFL history should not come as a surprise. Now it will be time to see if Smith and the front office hold true to their word on Watt’s contract not being an issue while trying to chase their championship.

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