There is little doubt that J.J. Watt is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. After three seasons in the league, the Houston Texans defensive end feels he has proven himself and now wants a new contract that more accurately reflects his production.
On Tuesday several outlets reported that Watt believes he has outplayed his rookie contract and wants an extension. Watt was the 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and has been a First-Team All-Pro in each of the past two seasons.
Watt told the Houston Chronicle the following about his situation:
“When you look around the league and you see a couple guys from the 2011 draft class get contracts, it’s just nice to see appreciation being shown. With the new (collective bargaining agreement), I think one of the goals was to make guys earn their pay. No more big paydays up front. When a team gives a contract after the third year, they’re saying, ‘We think you’ve earned this.’ And so, 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.”
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick have already received contract extensions and Watt clearly feels he should be next. He was the 11th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and has outplayed everyone else from his class.
In 48 career games, Watt has 36.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, 27 passes defensed and 217 total tackles.
Watt is due to make $1.9 million this year and about $7 million in 2015, he’ll be a free agent in 2016. He claimed he hasn’t gotten involved in negotiations yet but he would if necessary.
Eventually the Texans and Watt will have to get a deal done, but you can bet he’s going to ask to be the highest paid defender in football before it’s all over.