Report: Texans hope to sign Deshaun Watson to extension before season

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The Texans restructured the contract of defensive end Angelo Blackson to free up $1.5 million against the salary cap, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. Blackson will make $2.5 million this season.

Combined with the restructuring of guards Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete, the Texans have cleared almost $8 million under the cap.

It gives them more space to do what they are prepared to do: Sign quarterback Deshaun Watson and inside linebacker Zach Cunningham to extensions before the season begins, according to McClain.

All eyes turned to Watson after Patrick Mahomes signed his 10-year, $503 million deal with the Chiefs earlier this summer. That left Watson, whom the Texans chose two picks after Mahomes, as the next quarterback due a long-term extension.

Watson prefers a shorter-term pact, with a three-year extension putting him under contract through the 2024 season. That would allow him to return to the negotiating table for a third contract while in his prime with the possibility of the franchise tag for 2025.

Watson is scheduled to make a base salary of $1.18 million this season and $17.54 million in 2021 under the fifth-year option.

Cunningham is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal due to make $1.07 million this season.

The Texans made him a second-round choice in 2017, and he has played 46 of a possible 48 games since. Cunningham has 339 tackles, 13 pass breakups, an interception, three forced fumbles and 3.5 sacks.