The Houston Texans made Laremy Tunsil the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history this offseason, granting the Pro Bowler's wish to reset the market with a three-year, $66 million extension. But they figure to make even more history -- and with a whole lot more money -- if/when they finalize a long-term agreement with quarterback Deshaun Watson.
As a young, productive QB, Watson was already in line for a lucrative deal in a league that's consistently seen just about every starting-QB contract surpass the one before it. In terms of an actual dollar amount, though, he's likely in line for an even steeper jump over the current highest-paid signal-caller in the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson.
The Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson said recently that Watson's next deal, which now stands atop the Texans' priority list, "could range between $40 million and $42 million guaranteed" per season.
CBS Sports previously reported that the two-time Pro Bowler could ultimately land something like $200 million over four or five seasons, giving him an average annual salary of between $40M and $50M. Joel Corry, a former NFL agent and salary cap expert, added that Watson will almost assuredly want to top both Wilson's $35M per-year average and the record for total guarantees ($110M) set by the Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff in 2019.
At any rate, the Texans signal-caller is due for a massive payday, with only reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes a sure bet to eclipse his value when he lands a long-term deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, for example, is still without an extension under the franchise tag entering 2020, and despite one more year of experience and a better medical track record than Watson, seems like a long shot to get his once-reported desire of a $40M annual salary. The Cowboys' latest offer to Prescott, according to CBS Sports' Patrik Walker, was around $35M per year with roughly $105M guaranteed -- and a willingness to go up to, but likely not succeed, $110M in guarantees.
Wilson currently ranks atop the NFL in terms of average QB salary on his four-year, $140M pact. Behind him are the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger ($34M), the Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers ($33.5M), Goff ($33.5M), the Minnesota Vikings' Kirk Cousins ($33M) and the Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz ($32M).