Inside the Deshaun Watson contract

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The Texans and quarterback Deshaun Watson have their new deal. We have the details.

So here they are:

1. Signing bonus: $27 million, with half payable in the next 15 days (subject to Watson passing a physical), another $6.75 million paid by October 20 and the remaining $6.75 million paid by December 20.

2. 2020 salary: $1.177 million, guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap.

3. 2021 salary: $10.54 million, guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap.

4. 2022 salary: $35 million, guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap.

5. 2023 roster bonus, due fifth day of the 2023 league year: $17 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap on the fifth day of the 2022 league year.

6. 2023 salary: $20 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap on the fifth day of the 2022 league year.

7. 2024 salary: $32 million.

8. 2025 salary: $32 million.

The deal also includes an annual $500,000 de-escalator, if Watson fails to participate in at least 84.375 percent of the offseason program.

The new years of the deal — 2022 through 2025 — include $1 million in annual escalators payable if the team wins the Super Bowl and if Watson participates in at least half the offensive plays in the Super Bowl.

Here’s some analysis of the deal, which pays out $156 million in new money ($39 million per year), and has a total value at signing of $174.17 million ($29.11 million per year).

First, it has three years fully-guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap. With the signing bonus, that’s $73 million in full guarantees at signing.

Second, the $37 million payable in 2023 fully vests in 2022. Which means that, in order to avoid owing Watson $110 million over four years, they’ll have to cut him after two years — and owe him $73 million.

Third, Watson beats Mahomes in the primary metrics for assessing long-team deals. Watson gets $17 million more to sign, more than $17 more in first-year cash, more than $5 million more through two years, $10 million more through three years, and $7 million more through four years.

At that point, Watson will be under contract for two more years — and Mahomes will be under contract for eight more years.

16 responses to “Inside the Deshaun Watson contract

  1. “We can’t even wrap our minds around these numbers” – signed the players who built this league and had to sell insurance in the off season to make ends meet.

  2. In unrelated news, the Texans are considering extending O’Brian because “he gets us to the playoffs.”

  3. Even if Mahomes did the unthinkable and played for the minimum purely out of his desire to play, his decision should not be constantly scrutinized after the fact as though it’s anyone else’s business. These never-ending retrospective analyses of Mahomes’ contract are disrespectful and gauche.

  4. Deshaun Watson is a top 3 quarterback in all of football. Hopkins did not make Deshaun great. Deshaun made himself great. Is any player worth that, in real terms, no. But it’s the market for a great quarterback and he got paid. He is the face of that franchise.

  5. So can we all understand that Watson is being paid UPFRONT for future services?

    Since he agreed to being paid UPFRONT, we shouldn’t say it’s unfair several years from now when his annual salary is “too low”

  6. texas47 says:
    September 5, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Deshaun Watson is a top 3 quarterback in all of football.

    Top 10, maybe. Brady, Mahomes, Rodgers, Wilson, Brees, Rivers, Newton (when healthy) all come to mind as being above Watson. Watson is in the second tier with Prescott, Cousins and the like.

    So no, Watson is not ‘great’. But kudos to him for getting O’Brien fooled. Again.

  7. Could Mahomes have made more money by not signing that deal?

    So what? He is making a huge amount of money, and that extra money is available to build a team around him.

    Which of these would you take:

    Option 1 – make $40 million and go deep in the playoffs

    Option 2 – make $45 million and get knocked out right away?

    I’d take option 1 in a heart beat. How many houses, cars, planes, etc. do you need? How much is your satisfaction worth to you?
    Would you rather retire with $250 million or $200 million and a super bowl victory?
    I’d take the latter.
    Imagine making top dollar playing for a 6-10 team year after year vs taking less and going to the playoffs every year.

  8. Jerry, you shoulda signed Dak a year ago! This is gonna let Dak hold up your Jones to Arlington Stage Coach and raid your strongbox

  9. Watson is a top5 QB, but I don’t see him every winning a Super Bowl. Maybe if they hired a few HC & GM.
    I don’t know why Watson didn’t allow himself to hit the FA.
    Texan have never appeared in the Super Bowl. Isn’t that the goal…? He was going to get paid either way.

  10. Considering his age who else would you rather have except for Mahomes? If you are looking out for the next 5 years when Brady,Brees, Rodgers, Rivers and Cam (due to injuries) will all be retired who would be a better choice?

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