NFL teams are facing a QB contract crisis thanks to Deshaun Watson

The decision by NFL teams to extend quarterbacks had been complicated enough before the entire Deshaun Watson saga with the Houston Texans began last January, just five months after signing his four-year extension. and $156 million. The extensions granted to Carson Wentz and Jared Goff in 2019, ending in failure and with both on new teams, were already a warning sign.

Then came Deshaun Watson’s new deal that came along with his trade to the Cleveland Browns (five years, $230 million, fully guaranteed for a man who has 22 women suing him for sexual misconduct) and now it’s a brave new world, where only owners and GMs with strong stomachs will survive.

To that end, at least two teams have had long-term relationships with their quarterbacks complicated by the Watson deal. The Baltimore Ravens are transfixed by former league MVP Lamar Jackson, and more bitterly, the Cardinals and their quarterback, Kyler Murray, are barely speaking at the moment. Latest from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero explained this late last week:

If you can’t read between the lines, I’ll do it for you: Watson’s new deal has changed the calculus for agents and quarterbacks, but teams are investigating and trying to treat Watson’s deal as a one-time fall of despair by a franchise. circus at the Cleveland Browns. In short, Watson’s resume (not to mention his alleged rap sheet) doesn’t really justify monstrous treatment of him. Watson has won one playoff game in his career. So the bar for guys who want similar treatment is lower than it should be.

Murray is decidedly below that bar. While he has made a couple of Pro Bowls, he hasn’t won a playoff game, and on top of that, he has a reputation, deserved or not, for being a bit moody and lacking in leadership skills. If you want more evidence that a team should be very cautious about paying Murray anything close to what Watson earns, look at the results of this poll in which Texas fans overwhelmingly say they want nothing to do with Murray:

EIGHT NINE PERCENT SAY THERE IS NO WAY! This is a fan base whose unquestioned headline in 2022 is Davis Mills! How things play out with Murray and the Cardinals will be a fascinating watch. As for Jackson, I guess he and the Ravens will find something in common. The Ravens are, simply put, a much better run franchise than the Cardinals.

The fact is, the Jackson and Murray situations could end up pale in comparison to potential contract extensions for the Chargers’ Justin Herbert and the Bengals’ Joe Burrow after the 2022 season, when they each have completed their third seasons and are eligible. for the contract. Extensions In another poll, football fans say that if their team had a choice between the four quarterbacks mentioned in this post (Jackson, Murray, Herbert and Burrow), they would choose Burrow overwhelmingly (55 percent) and then to Herbert:

Right now, both Burrow and Herbert seem to be in excellent situations, and I think the owners and front offices of their respective teams would gladly lock them in some stratospheric numbers, especially the Bengals, who went to a Super Bowl with Burrow under the hub. However, there is a rule in the NFL bylaws that owners must put any guaranteed money promised to a player on escrow. So if a team guarantees a player, say, $230 million, that owner has to deposit $230 million of his cash into an escrow account.

That rule could prove somewhat problematic for owners of the Bengals or Chargers, family franchises that are notoriously cheap. I doubt either team will let that rule be the reason they trade Burrow or Herbert, but it’s worth monitoring, especially as a Texans fan. Maybe the day will come when Nick Caserio can trade the picks he got from trading Deshaun Watson for a high-end, established quarterback.

That would be the ultimate irony: Deshaun Watson’s new contract he got when the Texans traded him was so toxic that it forced another team to trade the Texans Watson’s replacement.

Hear Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 am to 10 am weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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