J.J. Watt is now the $100 million man.
The Houston Texans have agreed to a six-year deal with the defensive end that will reportedly pay him $100 million. The deal gives Watt a guaranteed $51.8 million, the largest contract for a defensive player in NFL history. Watt will also have the highest annual value for a defensive player in league history, with $16.6 million.
Watt had two years left on his rookie contract, with a base salary of $1.9 million this year and a $6.9 million player option for 2015.
The two sides had been working on a deal over the course of the summer. Team owner Bob McNair had also talked about the possibility of using the franchise tag on Watt if they could not reach a deal, saying the team could even franchise the defensive end twice.
“With the new [collective bargaining agreement], I think one of the goals was to make guys earn their pay,” Watt said. “No more big paydays up front. Make guys go out there and play, show that they’ve earned it.
“So I think when a team gives a big contract after the third year, they’re saying, ‘Listen, we think you’ve earned this.’ I don’t know if [the Texans] feel that way or not, but I sure hope I’ve put in all the work, and I’ve put in everything I can do to hopefully earn it.”
But J.J. Watt said he would not hold out if the two sides couldn’t reach a deal.
“That would cause me to miss time with my teammates,” said Watt, who has 36.5 sacks over his first three seasons. “Right now, I want to practice. I want to be out here with these young guys. I want to teach them things that I know. I want to better myself. And it hasn’t really come to that. I want to be a Houston Texan. I want to play football, I want to be the best I can be. I can’t do that by sitting on my couch. I want to come out here and help my team.
“The business side of things is the business side. Right now I’m in football mode, so I worry about that. If the time comes that I need to get involved in the business side, I will.”
J.J. Watt was the 11th overall draft pick in 2011, and in just three years in considered the league’s premiere defensive end. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.