Texans owner Bob McNair recently discussed some of the team’s options regarding a new contract for Pro Bowl DE J.J. Watt.
McNair made it clear that they aren’t afraid of applying their franchise to to Watt and would be willing to use the designation in back-to-back years if made sense for the team.
“You’ve got guys in the Hall of Fame that have been franchised in back-to-back years,” McNair told Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com. “The franchise tag is worth something to the team, and you can’t be afraid to use it.”
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.
McNair is well aware of the type of contract that Watt will require, but stressed that a deal needs to make sense for the team.
“It’s going to be a big contract,” McNair said. “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.”
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.
Houston could probably franchise Watt in 2016 for something close to $13-14 million, which would bring his three-year total to around $23 million. Based on Watt’s incredible production, this would be solid value for the Texans.
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.