He sees things others cannot, or would not.
Even when he’s left scrambling behind a porous offensive line, as he was his first two seasons, he’s capable of constantly rising off the turf and carrying his club.
Even when his coach doesn’t have a play to call. Or key receivers healthy. Or a defense that can make things easier on him.
Watson sees the writing on the wall.
So when Texans management tried to address the $400 million elephant in the room that is a Watson contract extension, they did so vaguely.
“We’re not going to talk contracts in the media,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said, also saying the club was, “working hard.”
Watson understandably deflected contract discussions to his agent, David Mulugheta.
But rest assured, Watson has a vision of what he wants. More specifically, how long he wants.
The consensus of those closest to the team is the Texans have no interest in extending Watson more than four years. It also is widely thought that Watson would not want a longer deal.
The exact opposite could be true. In fact, it should be true.
While some say it’s in Watson’s best interest to only ask for a three- to five-year contract, on the surface, maybe. The logic is, if Watson signs a shorter-term deal, he could dig even deeper into Texans coffers when he’s 28- or 29-years-old and hit the motherlode again.
But that could be short-sighted, which is something we all know Deshaun definitely is not.
“All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a little kid is play football and win championships,” Watson said.
That’s all he’s ever done. But is it something he can do in Houston? Under Bill O’Brien?
Despite his public discretion, Watson has to wonder. Most importantly, does Watson even know if O’Brien will be the Texans’ coach in two years? One?
It is quite the one-sided commitment the Texans want Watson to make. Not only are the Texans asking Watson to commit despite trading away perhaps the best receiver in the game in DeAndre Hopkins, they’re asking him to have blind faith.
Faith that O’Brien will be the coach. Faith that he will remain healthy after taking a consistent pounding (ask Andrew Luck). Faith that O’Brien and personnel cohort Jack Easterby will properly manage an aging defensive roster, depleted draft capital, shrinking salary cap and replenish an oft-injured and aging receiving and rushing pool.
Watson should see right through it.
He should in essence say: You want me to commit to you? Then commit to me.
Watson should ask for a minimum eight-year extension, or even a 10-year deal similar to that of Mahomes. After all, Watson has made it clear he loves everything about Houston and owner Janice McNair and son, Cal McNair.
With so much uncertainty surrounding O’Brien’s future, a 10-year, $450- to $500-million contract would make the transition to the unknown of the next coach much, much easier.
And really, even if O’Brien proves to be a genius and the Texans and Watson reach heights established by peers like Mahomes and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Watson won’t sacrifice a penny long-term.
If he signs a lengthy deal now and O’Brien flops, Watson will have a fat bank account. And if O’Brien succeeds, then Watson will have carried the Texans to an AFC Championship Game or Super Bowl appearance, and he would have leverage down the road to rework that long deal for an even more lucrative one.
It may not be the presumed way Watson’s contract will go, but you don’t have to be Deshaun Watson to see one thing very clearly.
If you want to make sure you lock him up for the next decade no matter what O’Brien does or doesn’t do, then lock him up for the next decade.