Teams have until May 3 to declare whether they will extend the contracts of 2011 first-round picks through 2015.
However, the Texans didn’t wait until the first Saturday in May to pick up the 2015 option on one of the shining stars of the Class of 2011.
Via ESPN’s Field Yates, Houston has exercised the option to keep defensive lineman J.J. Watt under contract for a fifth season.
The Texans’ decision is hardly a surprise. The 25-year-old Watt is one of the game’s top defensive players, notching 217 tackles and 36.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons.
However, the timing of the Texans’ move is a little curious, given that the club has begun its offseason training. According to PFT’s Mike Florio, the fifth-year option has an injury-only guarantee. By officially extending Watt before the deadline, the Texans are perhaps taking on a risk of a freak injury in the first phase of workouts.
Nevertheless, the Texans have moved now to secure Watt under contract for at least two more seasons. The next logical step would be signing Watt long-term — a pact that seems likely to make him one of the game’s highest paid defenders at the very least.