In most NFL circles, J.J. Watt is widely considered the best defensive player in the NFL. Early Tuesday morning, reports surfaced that the Houston Texans decided to pay him like it. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans and Watt agreed to six-year $100 million contract extension late Monday night.
J.J. Watt will receive $51.876 million of guaranteed salary over the course of the deal. The move will make Watt the highest paid defensive player in the history of the NFL, and they surpassed for Texans’ defensive end Mario Williams’ contract back in March of 2012. Williams’ contract was worth six-years $96 million, with a $50 million guarantee.
It’s been a historic rise for J.J. Watt since his days of playing football at Central Michigan. Before transferring to Wisconsin, J.J. Watt was a tight end for the Chippewas as a freshman. After sitting out for a year, Watt reemerged with the Wisconsin Badgers on the defensive line. In two seasons with Wisconsin, J.J. Watt had 36.5 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks.
In 2011, Watt was selected with the 11th pick of the first round by the Texans. He was paired with Mario Williams in what should have been a dominant defensive end tandem, but that was short lived as Watt actually became Williams’ replacement.
Now J.J. Watt is teaching another young phenom along the front seven in Jadeveon Clowney. However, Clowney is not here to replace J.J. Watt in the slightest. In three seasons with the Texans, Watt has amassed 36.5 sacks and 27 pass breakups. Affectionately known as J.J. “Swatt,” Watt has been an enforcer along the defensive front, and it should only get better from here.
Watt has not missed a game in his three seasons, and has always been accountable on and off the field. However, the new contract will bring more eyes on Watts performance, so he must be dominant from the opening snap this season. Any lull in production will bring questions of the contract extension.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Watt’s base salary will be this season is $907,385, but it jumps $9.969 million in 2015. He also receives a $10 million signing bonus as the deal is inked. The terms of J.J. Watt’s new contract begins in 2016 and runs through 2021.
The Houston Texans begin the season at home against Washington. The first five teams on the Texans’ schedule did not make the playoffs in 2013-14 season, and they only have four games total against playoff teams from a season ago. The expectations will be for Watt to lead the Texans’ defense to a playoff berth.