Deshaun Watson’s contract could be bigger than expected

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has a serious negotiating advantage.

Deshaun Watson is going to get paid.

This offseason is the first time he’s eligible for an extension, having accrued three years of NFL service. With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and television deals on the horizon, the salary cap is set to skyrocket, perhaps reaching $240 million in 2021.

Watson, 24, is a superstar quarterback. He’s also going to have his representation negotiating with Bill O’Brien.

O’Brien has been a middling coach and a truly horrendous general manager. This winter, he traded away All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins for running back David Johnson and a second-round pick. More pertinent for Watson, though, was the monster three-year, $66 million deal with $50 million guaranteed given to left tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Tunsil, while a good player, shouldn’t have demolished the market for tackles.

Watson’s rep, David Mulugheta of Athletes First, is a high-powered agent with a legion of stars in his rolodex including cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and Casey Hayward, safeties Derwin James and Landon Collins, and receiver Michael Thomas.

In short, Mulugheta negotiating against O’Brien is a massive mismatch tilted in Watson’ favor.

Additionally, Watson may have the advantage of watching Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott sign their extensions with the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, respectively. With the current highs of $35 million annually (Russell Wilson) and $110 million in guarantees (Jared Goff), Mahomes will blow past those figures. Prescott may as well.

If Mahomes and Prescott do so, Mulugheta is suddenly working from a higher starting point. He’s also got more space to reach the ceiling.

To this juncture, O’Brien has shown nothing to make us believe he can handle a negotiation of moderate proportions, let alone one of the league’s biggest. If the Texans allow him to get into the proverbial ring with Mulugheta on the Watson deal, we could see eye-popping numbers even beyond what is already expected.

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