Watt is now being vocal about his wishes, plainly stating that he has “outplayed his contract“ and wants an extension.
Going further, Watt stated that – while he is not currently involved in negotiations – he is willing to get involved “if he has to.”
The Texans picked up Watt’s fifth-year option, so they have him under team control for the next two years. However, there is no question that Watt is in position to secure a massive contract at some point.
Texans owner Bob McNair made it clear that the team is not afraid of applying their franchise tag to Watt, and would even be willing to use the designation in back-to-back years.
“It’s going to be a big contract,” McNair acknowledged. “If we can do something with him that makes sense for the team to do it early, we’ll certainly do it. It has to make sense for us. The team comes first. We want to keep all of our players. We want to take care of all or our players, but the team comes first.”
It should be noted that despite the apparent financial impasse, Watt never considered holding out. Rather, he stated “I want to be out here with my teammates.”
Watt, 25, will make just $1,907,385 for the 2014 season and another $6.97 million if he plays the 2015 season under his fifth-year option.
Watt is arguably the best defensive player in the league. There is no doubt that Houston will want to keep him in town and happy for as long as possible. A franchise tag in 2016 would likely cost $13-14 million, which would be great value for the Texans, but there are of course other considerations.
Last year, he produced 80 tackles, 10.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and two recoveries. Pro Football Focus has rated Watt as the No. 1 defensive end in a 3-4 defense for the past two years by a wide margin.