The Houston Texans are working hard on a contract extension for quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The extension, according to Rapoport, will be more in line with Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers’ current deals as opposed to the record-setting contract Chiefs quarterback (and fellow 2017 draftee) Patrick Mahomes inked earlier this offseason. 

Wilson and Rodgers are currently signed to contracts with a total value of $140 million and $134 million, respectively. Wilson’s contract includes $70 million fully guaranteed, while Rodgers’ contract includes $78.7 million guaranteed. Both players are among the top-four highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL in terms of annual salary.

Mahomes, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, became the highest-paid player in league history after coming to terms on a 10-year extension that could be worth up to $503 million. Earlier this offseason, the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson reported that Watson’s extension could pay him between $40 million and $42 million per season, which would make him the NFL’s second-highest paid player in terms of annual salary. 

A two-time Pro Bowler, Watson had his fifth-year option picked up by the Texans earlier this offseason. And while Mahomes has understandably taken most of his thunder, Watson has also enjoyed a tremendous start to his career. After an injury put a premature end to what would have likely been a Rookie of the Year season for Watson, he bounced back with a stellar 2018 campaign, throwing for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns while leading the Texans to an 11-5 record. Last season, Watson again threw 26 touchdowns while leading Houston to the second round of the playoffs. 

Despite losing All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason, the Texans are clearly confident that Watson will continue to perform at a Pro Bowl level. While Watson’s talent is undeniable, the success of Houston’s offense is largely predicated on its running game, which finished ninth in the NFL in yards gained last season. This offseason, the Texans replaced Carlos Hyde — a 1,000-yard rusher a season ago — with David Johnson, a former All-Pro who was used sparingly during his final year with the Cardinals. Johnson, a superb receiver out of the backfield, will be complemented in Arizona’s backfield with Duke Johnson, who averaged nearly five yards per carry during his first season in Houston. Texans fans should expect a heavy diet of Johnson and Johnson in 2020, which should help open things up for Watson in the passing game. 

Speaking of the passing game, the Texans signed veteran wideout Randall Cobb to a three-year deal shortly after the team traded away Hopkins. A Pro Bowler in 2014, Cobb, a 10-year veteran who will turn 30 before the start of the 2020 season, spent his first eight seasons with the Packers before signing with the Cowboys last offseason. Cobb enjoyed a solid season in Dallas, catching 55 passes for 823 yards and three touchdowns while averaging a career-best 15.1 yards per reception. 

The Texans also signed Brandin Cooks, who, like David Johnson, is facing questions about his health heading into his first season in Houston. A 1,000-yard receiver each season from 2015-18, Cooks, who sustained five known concussions during the first six years of his career, suffered two concussions in a 25-day span during the 2019 season. But if he is healthy, Cooks (who is still just 26 years old) will undoubtedly be a valuable part of the Texans’ offense in 2020, and possibly beyond.

Houston also added reinforcements on its offensive line. They spent a fourth-round pick on former North Carolina offensive tackle Charlie Heck, who is expected to compete to be Houston’s starting right guard. The team also signed undrafted rookies Cordel Iwuagwu and Elex Woodworth, who are both expected to, at the least, add depth at the Texans’ guard positions in 2020. 

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