J.J. Watt Got Screwed

It's The Internet - I Can Say That...Right?

Talk of J.J. Watt‘s contract extension, more specifically lack there of, has put the spotlight on the 2011 NFL Draft. Three things jump off the page: 1.) LOADED! 2.) Owners win again, and 3) J.J. Watt got screwed.

LOADED
Unless you have been under a rock, this needs no explanation and merely serves as reference for the rest of the story. (*See below)

Owners Win Again
The Collective Bargaining Agreement, effective for the 2011 class, cut rookie contracts in half, but the terms are for a mandatory four years with an option for a fifth. Another year on the contract may sound like a good idea, but actually, players give up another year before they can negotiate for a bigger, better deal. The fifth year option is also, like most NFL contracts, not fully guaranteed. For those options not picked up, teams can cut ties and move on without having paid $50 million to a player that may not be exactly what they had in mind. (see Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder)

J.J. Watt Got Screwed
That is not the most eloquent use of the English language, but it seems the most appropriate. Watt not only is still bound by a deal that grossly under pays the top defensive player in the league, but he is also being penalized for being picked outside of the top 10. The option year is calculated by averaging players 3-25 at that position, so all defensive ends from Watt at pick 11 to Cameron Heyward at pick 31 are created equal.

Patrick Peterson has received his payday, as have players drafted well behind Watt, Andy Dalton and Colin Kapernick, but that is not even the biggest reason the Texans need to get this deal done now. The best defensive player in the NFL is obviously not the highest played defender in the league, he is not the highest paid defender on his team. Watt’s $3.75 million ranks ninth on the team, most notably behind Jadaveon Clowney‘s $4.04 million.

Is this not the exact situation the CBA was supposed to avoid? What it has actually done is given more insurance to the owners. They no longer are gambling on top picks, and by the time they essentially get a free franchise tag, they have possibly taken away a top performers leverage and decreased the number of contracts a player will get over his career. So much for being rewarded for hard work and excellence. The Texans are not obligated to pay Watt, but every move they make and penny they save, will be remembered. If they are not careful, those moves could lead to J.J. finding how much other teams appreciate his talent when he finally becomes a free agent.

*2011 1st Round Draft Picks
Pick Player Pos. Team Status

1 Cam Newton QB CAR 5th-year option exercised ($14,666,666)

2 Von Miller LB DEN 5th-year option exercised ($9,754,000)

3 Marcell Dareus DT BUF 5th-year option exercised ($8,060,000)

4 A.J. Green WR CIN 5th-year option exercised ($10,176,000)

5 Patrick Peterson CB ARI Signed a 5 yr/$70.05M extension

6 Julio Jones WR ATL 5th-year option exercised ($10,176,000)

7 Aldon Smith LB SF 5th-year option exercised ($9,754,000)

8 Jake Locker QB TEN Contract expires after 2014

9 Tyron Smith OT DAL Signed an 8 year $98M ex-+/tension

10 Blaine Gabbert QB SF Traded to SF (6th74047round pick)

11 J.J. Watt DE HOU 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)

12 Christian Ponder QB MIN Contract expires after 2014

13 Nick Fairley DT DET Contract expires after 2014

14 Robert Quinn DE STL 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)

15 Mike Pouncey C MIA 5th-year option exercised ($7,438,000)

16 Ryan Kerrigan LB WAS 5th-year option exercised ($7,038,000)

17 Nate Solder OT NE 5th-year option exercised ($7,438,000)

18 Corey Liuget DE SD 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)

19 Prince Amukamara CB NYG 5th-year option exercised ($6,898,000)

20 Adrian Clayborn DE TB Contract expires after 2014

21 Phil Taylor DT CLE 5th-year option exercised ($5,477,000)

22 Anthony Castonzo OT IND 5th-year option exercised ($7,438,000)

23 Danny Watkins G PHI Waived (2013), Signed w/ Miami

24 Cameron Jordan DE NO 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)

25 James Carpenter G SEA Contract expires after 2014

26 Jonathan Baldwin WR KC Traded to SF (2013), Waived (2014)

27 Jimmy Smith CB BAL 5th-year option exercised ($6,898,000)

28 Mark Ingram RB NO Contract expires after 2014

29 Gabe Carimi G CHI Traded to TB (2013), Signed w/ ATL

30 Muhammad Wilkerson DE NYJ 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)

31 Cameron Heyward DE PIT 5th-year option exercised ($6,969,000)

32 Derek Sherrod OT GB Contract expires after 2014

Follow Leslie on Twitter @LK_Comm!

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